151874 Engaging restaurants in a trans fat reduction campaign: The Cambridge story

Wednesday, November 7, 2007: 3:15 PM

Marsha D. Lazar, LICSW , Cambridge Public Health Department, Cambridge, MA
Karen Hacker, MD , Cambridge Public health Department, Interim Director, Cambridge, MA
Trans fat has been shown to be a harmful substance which increases risk for cardiovascular disease. It is contained in many foods prepared and served by restaurants. Following FDA regulations for labeling of transfat content, several cities nationwide have explored or implemented bans on restaurant use of trans fat. The City Council in Cambridge, Massachusetts began a public process to examine the feasibility of such a ban in Cambridge in December of 2006 .

In response to a city council order, the Cambridge Public Health Department recommended a voluntary effort to eliminate trans fat in cooperation with restaurants as a first step. In anticipation of hearings in March, 2007, staff has reached out to the city's restaurant associations to assess their interest in a voluntary, cooperative effort towards this end.

Initial efforts have proved extremely successful, with many Cambridge restaurant owners already researching or implementing alternatives to trans fat in their kitchens. Most see this as an opportunity to promote their establishments as partners in healthier living, and are eager for education and the opportunity to share best-practices with their colleagues.

The proposed session would update APHA participants about the Cambridge trans fat reduction campaign and offer suggestions about engaging the restaurant community in voluntary activities to reduce the burden of trans fat consumption by the public.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify the benefits of engaging restaurants in a voluntary campaign to reduce trans fat. 2. Describe three strategies restaurants can use to reduce trans fat use in their establishment. 3. Articulate two steps they would need to take in order to engage restaurants in their community in a voluntary effort to reduce trans fat.

Keywords: Community-Based Health Promotion, Heart Disease

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.