247881 Salud Tiene Sabor: Access to healthy foods for Latino families

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 9:24 AM

Carmen R. Nevarez, MD, MPH , Vice President and Preventive Medicine Advisor, Public Heath Institute, Oakland, CA
Liz Schwarte, MPH , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Mariah Lafleur, MPH , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Sarah Samuels, DrPH , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Beth Weinstein-Rodin , Director of Economic Development, Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, Los Angeles, CA
Introduction: The Smart Menu/La Salud Tiene Sabor evaluation, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Salud America! research program, assesses the impact of a menu labeling initiative among seven independently-owned restaurants in South Los Angeles. The Salud program empowers residents to make healthy food choices for their families via access to healthy menu items, calories boards, and nutrition information. The Salud evaluation is a collaboration of researchers, restaurant owners, community-based organizations and the LA County Public Health Department.

Methodology: The evaluation assesses the effect of menu labeling and access to nutrition information on families' purchase intention and meal choices and on restaurant vendor practices and sales. Evaluation methodologies include patron awareness assessments, environmental assessments, stakeholder surveys, a sales tracking analysis, secondary data analyses, and a media analysis. Results: Interim findings demonstrate patron awareness of and use of menu boards; patron support for access to nutrition information in restaurants; restaurant owner satisfaction with the Sabor program; no notable changes in restaurant owner costs and profits from the program; and availability of menu items that meet accepted nutrition standards.

Discussion: The Sabor evaluation findings show that small, independently owned restaurants in low-income Latino communities are contributing to improving community nutrition environments. The Sabor program establishes a model for non-chain restaurants to take an active role in making nutrition information accessible. The evaluation has the potential in inform and advance policy action to incentivize small restaurant owners to increase the healthfulness of menu items, post calories and provide other nutrition information.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe the methods for evaluating a menu labeling initiative among small independently owned restaurants. Discuss the benefits and challenges of menu modification and menu labeling among small, independently owned restaurants in low-income communities. Share evaluation results and discuss how they inform California and national menu labeling legislation.

Keywords: Food and Nutrition, Latino Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been part of the menu labeling evaluation team for the past two years.
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.