Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Eat-In" Event: RECAP!

DVMC held an "eat-in" event on 11.24.08 during lunch rush hours on the busy restaurant center of 19th Street between L and M Streets, NW DC. The event aimed to raise awareness and garner support of menu-labeling in DC. During the event, DVMC staff stirred up commotion on 19th Street by distributing postcards, flyers and related materials about menu-labeling; hosting calorie quizzes of sample food items from popular chain restaurants in the District, and canvassing for petition signatures to pass menu-labeling in DC. The signatures from the event and from previous events will be faxed to DC City Council to advocate for a hearing on the bill. Combating the cold weather, DVMC was able to spread awareness about menu-labeling, which was critical because many people seemed unaware of the bill and menu-labeling. In general, most people seemed favorable of menu-labeling after being informed. DC consumers should expect to see nutritional information on menus and menu boards in order to make informed food choices, if one chooses to! If you stopped by our table, please leave us any comments or suggestions for future events!

Menu-labeling is stirring-up political and media attention across the US due to similar laws passed in NYC, California, King County in Washington State and most recently, Philadelphia. Menu-labeling may be one tactic in a comprehensive approach to address the overweight and obesity epidemic across our nation.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Eating Healthy? Policy Priority

Eating healthy can be done, but may be more difficult depending on where you live or to what you have access. Overweight and obesity rates in the District are high--but vary greatly geographically. Rates are low (7%) in upper NW DC, whereas SE DC sees very high rates (35%). Poorer areas in DC are hit hard, with many of them being children.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

DC Voices for MEAL Choices announces an "eat-in" event to raise awareness and gain support of menu-labeling in DC!

As consumers, you deserve to see nutritional information on menus in restaurants, just as you do on items in the grocery store. New York City, California, King County in Washington State, and most recently Philadelphia have passed similar menu-labeling laws. DVMC wants the District to be next on this list and needs your support!

Please stop by and join us in supporting the DC MEAL Act on Monday, November 24, 2008 from 11am-1pm on 19th Street, NW, between L Street and M Street, Washington D.C.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

David Catania Needs to Hold a Public Hearing on the DC MEAL ACT! Contact your Councilmembers for Support.

The DC MEAL Act was referred to the Health Committee but a vote cannot be taken (even within the Health Committee) until a public hearing on the bill is held. David Catania, chair of the Health Committee, has the POWER to call for a hearing on the bill. He is the DECIDER! Contact David Catania and your Ward councilmember to show support for the DC MEAL Act. Write a letter, send an email, make a phone call, or do all three! To figure out which Ward/ANC you are part of click here. Bonus points if your councilmember is also on the Health Committee! To get you started, here is some sample text for your letter/email.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Couting Calories? That's the 1st Step!

DC Voices for MEAL Choices interviewed a local D.C. woman (referred to as Ms. A.M. for privacy) about the proposed menu-labeling bill to get a better perspective of what is going on in the minds of D.C. residents. Being overweight, Ms. A.M. worked to lose weight, and more importantly maintain her new weight. Tracking calories and following nutritional information for a few months were her main tactics. After losing weight, Ms. A.M. lowered her blood pressure and feels healthy overall. When asked about menu-labeling in D.C., Ms. A.M. is aware and very supportive of the DC MEAL Act. In her opinion, she believes the bill is important for all D.C. residents. No matter what choices people make concerning food, having the option to consider calorie or other nutritional information before purchasing food is one route that may help D.C. become a healthier place.

Sometimes the first steps in getting healthy, is simply, keeping in check with calories. I know, it’s easy to lose track, especially in restaurants—that’s why calorie information on menus may be the one extra drive to keep from falling off track! Check out the Mayo Clinic’s personalized and interactive Health Tools to take a step in the right direction.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rave Reviews for Menu Labeling in NYC

If you know someone who's traveled to NYC recently then you've heard all about the great new menu boards around New York. We've heard from many DC residents who come back saying, "Hey, that information is really useful. Why can't we get those?" Is DC just not "cool enough" for menu labeling? Check out this summary report of NYC residents reaction to menu labeling. The response has been overwhelmingly positive! The response in DC would be just as strong. Post a comment and let us know what you think.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

DVMC Kicks off Fall Petition Campaign! Can you help collect signatures?

DC Voices for Meal Choices is collecting petition signatures in support of the DC Menu Education and Labeling Act (MEAL ACT). Petitions will be faxed to Councilmember David Catania, Chair of the Health Committee. Time is running out on the DC MEAL ACT! Can you help by volunteering an hour to collect signatures from DC residents in front of your favorite healthy food store, farmer's market, chain restaurant, or communal gathering place? Contact dcvoicesformealchoices@gmail.com for more information or a copy of the petition form.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Breaking News! Philadelphia passes menu labeling legislation.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2010, chain restaurants with more than 15 outlets in Philadelphia will be required to disclose calories on menu boards, and calories, saturated and trans fat, sodium and carbohydrates on printed menus. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the measure passed by the Philadelphia City Council is the strongest in the nation so far. We hope that the DC City Council will follow the lead of our neighbors to the north and act now in support of the DC MEAL ACT!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Background and Status of the DC MEAL ACT- Act Quickly to support the DC Meal Act

The DC Menu Education and Labeling Act of 2007 was introduced by Councilmember Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) in March of 2007. The legislation would require chain restaurants with 10 or more locations nationwide to provide nutritional infromation (calories, carbohydrates, sodium, and saturated plus trans fat) on their menus. The MEAL Act was referred to the Health Committee. David Catania, Chair of that committee needs to schedule a public hearing on the bill. If a hearing is not held, the legislation will expire at the end of 2008. Contact David Catania at 202-724-7772 or send an email though his web page http://www.davidcatania.com/ to express your support for the DC MEAL Act.