Concerned that your clients are exercising but then consuming excessive calories when they eat out? You may be interested to know that a new bill (the Menu Education and Labeling [MEAL] Act) has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to require better nutrition information in fast-food and other chain restaurants. (As of press time, the bill was expected to also be introduced in the Senate.) The bill applies only to standard menu items—not changing specials—and only to chains with 10 or more outlets.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest has published online its report regarding the impact of restaurant foods on Americans’ diets and health. Called Anyone’s Guess, it outlines evidence for why we need calorie and other nutrition labeling in restaurants. (See the report at http://cspinet.org/new/pdf/anyone_s_guess_final_web.pdf.)
The report includes many model menus and menu boards, which show that menu labeling can be attractive and is feasible. It also includes the results of two national polls showing that two-thirds of Americans support requiring calorie labeling on menus.
To voice your opinion about the bill, send a letter to your appropriate legislative officials. A model letter can be found at http://actionnetwork.org/campaign/CosponsorMEALbill.