192568 Smart Menu/La Salud Tiene Sabor: Culturally Relevant Menu Labeling in South Los Angeles

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 12:50 PM

Heng Lam Foong, MS , Urban & Environmental Policy Institute, Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA
Pri De Silva, MSW , Public Health Sector, Healthy Eating Active Communities, Los Angeles, CA
Monica Montes, RD , N.E.W. Health Consultants, Inc, Pasadena, CA
The proposed Smart Menu/ La Salud Tiene Sabor session will highlight how an eclectic collaboration of health, public policy and business stakeholders, successfully implemented a menu labeling project in South Los Angeles, and consequently impacted community health through nutrition education, and menu modification of traditional meals. The session will also discuss the aspects of relationship and trust building with a diverse group of business owners, and how Smart Menu was successfully implemented despite multiple barriers with a correct mix of innovation, education, and marketing.

In October 2008, the State of California passed Senate Bill 1420 that will require that restaurants with twenty or more outlets, to begin providing menu-labeling information by January 1, 2011. Similar laws have also been passed in cities such as New York City. It is proposed that the provision of nutritional content will enable consumers to make smarter and informed choices when eating out. This choice is vital, as educators, such as nutritionists, work collectively with their health colleagues to combat rising rates of obesity, which is a known risk factor for multiple chronic diseases.

The Smart Menu project is not only timely it demonstrates the efforts of seven diverse restaurant owners, who embarked on menu-labeling to improve the health of their families and community members. The proposed session will present the highlights and challenges of Smart Menu, a menu-labeling pilot, which spanned 2 years and brought together an eclectic collaboration of public policy, non-profit, education, public health, small business, and county stakeholders. The Smart Menu collaborative demonstrated that through nutrition education and menu modification, it is possible to maintain the familiar cultural flavors of traditional meals, and simultaneously provide an array of healthier options for restaurant owners and consumers alike.

Learning Objectives:
1) Describe the 5-Step process of the Smart Menu project 2) Demonstrate the impact of collaborating with diverse communities to encourage healthful changes in culturally diverse diets 3) Explain and discuss the benefits of collaboration, the challenges of working with diverse communities, and how to address these challenges 4) Describe consumer survey results and discuss the impact and affect, small changes in meals served have on communities facing high rates of health disparities.

Keywords: Food and Nutrition, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: developed and implemented pilot project which is being presented (menu labeling)
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.