Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Rationale and Evidence for Menu-Labeling Legislation - Great new Article in AJPM!

This month's American Journal of Preventive Medicine has a great new article about the rationale behind menu-labeling legislation. The authors break down the issue arguement by argument, refuting the claims of opponents.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

CSPI Flip Flops on Federal Preemption of State/Local Menu Labeling Laws!

In April 2009, The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) sent out an e-mail to its supporters asking them to oppose the restaurant industry's Federal menu-labeling law, and support their stronger bill instead. Back then they said: 

"The restaurant industry has its own restaurant labeling bill, the LEAN Act. That sham bill aims to distract members of Congress from meaningful menu labeling and would cancel out all existing state and local menu labeling policies."

Now it's November, and CSPI is pushing hard to pass federal menu labeling legislation once again. But this time the bill they're supporting contains the very policies that they were fighting against just 8 months ago. 

Monday, November 9, 2009

DCVMC Visits St. Teresa Avila Parish!

This past Sunday, representatives from DC Voices for MEAL Choices partnered with the Metropolitan Washington Public Health Association (MWPHA) and the St. Teresa Avila Health Ministry to spread the word about good nutrition and menu labeling in Washington, DC. 

Monday, October 26, 2009

Preliminary Data from NYC shows Menu Labeling IS Having an Impact!

Over the past two weeks, news outlets throughout the U.S. have been reporting the data recently published in Health Affairs, showing that menu labeling in NYC isn't working1. New data released today by the New York Department of Health at the Obesity Society's annual meeting in Washington, DC, showed that menu-labeling actually is having an impact!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Foggy Bottom Block Party was a success!

Thanks to all of you who turned out yesterday at the Foggy Bottom/West End Neighborhood Block Party! We had a ton of fun playing our menu game with everyone, and we gathered over 45 signatures in support of the DC MEAL Act.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

DVMC asks commercial weight-loss programs about their positions on menu-labeling.

DC Voices for Meal Choices asked the most popular weight loss programs, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and NutriSystem about their position on menu-labeling in chain restaurants. You would think that such programs would be supportive of menu-labeling in chain restaurants. After all, we clearly agree that a critical step in helping individuals make healthier meal choices is for them to be aware of the nutritional content in the foods they are eating, right? So, we asked these programs if they had a position on menu-labeling in chain restaurants or if they were supportive of menu-labeling in chain restaurants. Here were their responses:

Weight Watchers responded with "our program depends upon members viewing nutritional labels provided on food products and calculating information with their program materials. Weight Watchers does not have a position on labeling."

NutriSystem responded with "NutriSystem is not interested in contacting on this."

Jenny Craig did not provide a response.

Does anyone find it strange that these programs, whose missions are to help people live healthier lifestyles through proper diet choices, aren't jumping up and down in support of menu-labeling enforcement in restaurants?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Flaws with National Menu-Labeling Legislation: The LEAN Act endorsed by National Restaurant Association!

Senators Tom Carper, D-Delaware, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska re-introduced a federal menu-labeling bill called the Labeling Education and Nutrition Act (LEAN Act) in the Senate on March 10, 2009 along with Reps. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, and Fred Upton, R-Mich, who introduced their version of the bill in the House in the same week.

The bill would require restaurant chains with 20 or more outlets to make nutritional data available for customers at point of purchase instead of requiring restaurants to post caloric information directly next to menu items. Though the bill would be helpful for consumers who are already health-conscious it would fail to reach out to less-informed and less-educated consumers, which is what The DC MEAL Act (as well menu-labeling legislation in other localities around the nation) strives to accomplish.

The DC MEAL Act would require chain restaurants to post caloric information next to menu items to serve as a constant reminder to consumers of just how many calories are in menu items they are ordering. The LEAN Act fails to reach out to the most vulnerable population at risk for obesity- those who are less health-conscious and less-informed about how to make healthy choices.

Interestingly, the National Restaurant Association, which has strongly opposed menu-labeling legislation in the past, has been quick to voice its support for the LEAN Act. This is a weak bill that would preempt state and local menu-labeling laws. It seems to be more beneficial for other parties rather than consumers facing an obesity epidemic.