LA County Launches Healthy Restaurants Partnership Offering Smaller Portion Sizes
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health today launched the county's first-ever healthy restaurants partnership, identifying restaurants that offer smaller portion size options and healthier children's meals. Choose Health LA Restaurants will promote menu changes that encourage healthier choices and allow restaurants to distinguish themselves by responding to consumer desires for smaller portions of their favorite foods. The program will also give children healthier meals that are conducive to a healthy weight and eating habits that lead to healthier growth and development. The program is part of Public Health's ongoing, comprehensive efforts to curb the obesity epidemic by educating and empowering LA County residents to "Choose Health."
"Almost two-thirds of LA County residents are overweight or obese. Yet fundamental changes in diet can be difficult. Offering both regular and smaller portions at restaurants makes a healthy choice an easier choice," said Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, Public Health Director and Health Officer of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. "As we continue to educate residents about the benefits of eating smaller portions and cutting back on sugar-loaded drinks, it's important that we make those healthier choices as accessible as possible. Choose Health LA Restaurants promote healthier meal choices and, thus, healthier adults and children across LA County."
To be designated a Choose Health LA Restaurant, businesses must offer:
- Smaller portion size options (in addition to existing menu items);
- Healthier children's meals that include fruits and vegetables, healthy beverages and non-fried foods; and
- Chilled water, free of charge.
Participating restaurants will be easily identified by a Choose Health LA Restaurant decal in the window and other in-store promotional materials. Customers can also find nearby Choose Health LA Restaurants on an interactive map at ChooseHealthLA.com.
"This program is a win-win for LA County restaurant owners and their customers," said Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. "Choose Health LA Restaurants empowers county residents to make tasty but healthy choices when they dine out. And as we get the message out about the importance of portion size and calorie intake, we're confident that demand for these healthier sized meals will only go up."
The Choose Health LA Restaurants program comes as the average American eats out 4 times a week and a recent survey of LA County residents showed 85 percent support for restaurants offering reduced-size portion options.
"About 42 percent of children ages 2-9 eat fast food on a given day. First 5 LA is a proud partner of the Choose Health LA Restaurants program because it gives parents more opportunities to make healthy choices for their children," said Kim Belshé, executive director for First 5 LA. "This program allows families to dine out together and still feed children the nutritious foods they need to grow up healthy and strong."