Friday, January 6, 2012

My New Year’s Resolution: Applaud Labeling

By W.S. “Chip” Riggins Jr. MD, MPH, FAAFP, FACPM 
Executive Director, Health Authority Williamson County and Cities Health District
As a preventionist, my New Year’s resolution is to be a better example for my children when we eat out. I will pay more attention to menu labeling and applaud efforts by restaurants to increase healthy options.

I don’t think my family is alone in our eating-out habits. Americans eat out on average four times per week, and almost of half of our food dollars are spent eating out. Research shows that on average, customers order 100 fewer calories when nutrition information is made available to them. This is valuable information my kids can also take to school with them now and use throughout their lives to make smart choices.

Some restaurants and chains are going above and beyond already (some at the very real risk to profits) to improve their healthy options and labeling. Our local Board of Health recently recognized two such establishments in our area, and I’m sure I will find many others. My resolution is to personally thank those restaurants I find offering healthy options and labeling — in front of my boys so they realize how important this is to all of us.

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