Michelle Obama is a well-known advocate for the fight against childhood obesity in the US with her Let’s Move Campaign. And the First Lady has good cause for concern, childhood obesity rates in the United States have more than tripled in the past 30 years. The fast food culture that we have adopted over that time has been largely identified as the culprit for this dramatic increase so now the National Restaurant Association and Healthy Dining have come up with a program to try to prevent these numbers from rising even more. On July 13, 2011 they launched their new initiative, “Kids Live Well,” where participating restaurants will provide healthier options for children dining at their establishments.
According to the National Restaurant Association’s website the criteria these restaurants must meet are as follows:
- Offer at least one full children’s meal (an entrée, side and beverage) that is 600 calories or less; contains two or more servings of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and/or low-fat dairy; and limits sodium, fats and sugar
- Offer at least one other individual item that has 200 calories or less, with limits on fats, sugars and sodium, and contains a serving of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein or low-fat dairy
- Display or make available upon request the nutrition profile of the healthful menu options; and
- Promote/identify the healthful menu options.
Nineteen fast food and restaurant chains in 15,000 locations have agreed to participate in the initial launch of “Kids Live Well.” Some of these restaurants include Au Bon Pain, Burger King, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Chevys Fresh Mex, Chili’s Grill & Bar, Cracker Barrel, Denny’s, El Pollo Loco, Friendly’s, IHOP, Joe’s Crab Shack, Outback Steakhouse, and Sizzler.
Including healthier options on popular restaurant chain menus is definitely a great start, but it’s still up to parents and kids to make smart decisions when they place their orders.
- Menu changes may impact what you eat (jennstrathman.com)
- U.S. restaurant chains commit to healthier kids’ menus (ctv.ca)
- Kids menus to be healthier at U.S. chains (cbc.ca)
- Restaurant chains making kids’ menus healthier (cbsnews.com)
- Diner’s Journal: What We’re Reading (dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com)