243430 Smart Meals for ME: Menu labeling movement among local non-chain restaurants

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 3:30 PM

Stephanie Agne, RD, LD , HHSD, Public Health Division, City of Portland, Portland, ME
Joan Ingram, MPH , HHSD, Public Health Division, City of Portland, Portland, ME
Portland, Maine, is working through the CPPW grant to advance obesity prevention through menu labeling and media.

59% of Maine adults are overweight or obese. Menu labeling has been supported by major health associations and was included in the 2010 health care reform bill as an approach to reducing obesity. In addition, as many as eight in ten (84%) Americans support menu labeling in restaurants.

Through an obesity prevention grant from the Department of Health and Human Services, Smart Meals for ME, a local menu labeling initiative, was created in the greater Portland, Maine area. Smart Meals for ME offers local, non-chain restaurants free assistance with menu labeling including meeting with a Registered Dietitian, nutrition analysis of menu items, assistance reprinting menus with new calorie information and restaurant promotion.

Social media is used to promote participating restaurants and provide basic education on calories and menu labeling. At the same time, a statewide media campaign is being launched including Smart Meals for ME promotion and education regarding recommended daily caloric intake. Resources and materials have been developed that allow consumers to advocate for menu labeling in their favorite restaurants.

Evaluation of Smart Meals for ME will occur through comparison of sales data before and after menu labeling and a post menu labeling survey completed by restaurant owners.

Learning Areas:
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify the resources required to implement a local, menu labeling initiative. 2. Discuss innovative strategies that use media to recruit, implement and maintain a local, menu labeling initiative. 3. Analyze the outcomes after one year of implementing Smart Meals for ME in Portland, ME.

Keywords: Nutrition, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a registered and licensed dietician with a public health background and implement the initiative being discussed.
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.