Being overweight and obese are the second leading preventable cause of death in the United States and may soon overtake tobacco as the leading cause of death. Our children are also affected when they become overweight: we are now seeing adult diseases starting in children at younger and younger ages. Our children are the first generation predicted to have a shorter lifespan than their parents.
Obesity & Overweight in Cayuga County
Currently 64% of Cayuga County adult residents are overweight or obese as compared with the New York State rate of 61%. Our children are 38% overweight or obese compared with the New York State rate of 33%.
Today, one-third of the calories we consume are from eating out. Most of these meals are quick lunches, dinners or snacks. Eating out is linked with consuming extra calories resulting in overweight and obesity.
What Can We Do?
We can all be more informed when we dine out. Having options and smaller portions available will allow patrons to decide what to eat and how much. Restaurants are willing to make these changes to accommodate diners. Check out the Super Model Tips on the Dine Out with Healthy Choices (PDF) brochure to try new strategies for healthy choices.
Choosing half-portions or saving half your entrée for another meal or to share will result in fewer calories, less sodium and less saturated fat consumed. Having non-fried options for children will provide more choice for parents when dining out with their children.
Dine Out with Healthy Choices
Americans spend over half their food budgets on eating out; from coffee shops, convenience stores and fast food to full-service restaurants. The Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work and Play grant partnered with local restaurants to bring attention to healthy options available.
The Dine Out with Healthy Choices is a volunteer, collaborative project between local restaurants and the Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work and Play grant. Local restaurants which were solicited from surveys mailed last winter. (2014).
Each restaurant volunteered to make three changes for three months:
- Serve 1% milk by default
- Have small or ½ portions available
- Offer a healthy kid’s meal such as a non-fried entrée with non-fried sides like vegetables and /or fruit and appropriately child sized
Check out the Super Model Tips on the Dine Out with Healthy Choices brochure to try new strategies for healthy choices.
The New Menu Labeling Law
On November 25th 2014 the US Food and Drug Administration passed the final regulations for calorie labeling of standard menu items at chain restaurants (fast-food and sit-down restaurants) with more than 20 locations; supermarkets, convenience stores, movie theaters, pizza shops and vending machines. Vending machine companies have an extra year to comply. Read the new law (PDF).