257369 Save Half for Later: Engaging East and Central Harlem Restaurants in the Campaign against Obesity and Diabetes

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 8:30 AM - 8:45 AM

Michelle A. Ramos, MPH , Department of Health Evidence and Policy, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY
Ashley Fox, PhD, MA , Department of Health Evidence and Policy, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY
Carolyn Zezima, JD , Communities IMPACT Diabetes Center, Union Settlement Association, New York, NY
Carol R. Horowitz, MD, MPH , Department of Health Evidence and Policy, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY
The CDC estimates that meals prepared outside the home may account for up to half of household food dollars spent. Restaurant meals often contain larger portions and are higher in calories, saturated fat, cholesterol, sugar and sodium, all linked to obesity, diabetes, and other adverse health outcomes. Restaurants catering to low-income individuals have an incentive to provide larger portions to maximize customer satisfaction and sense of value. We canvassed East and Central Harlem, NY to identify sit-down restaurants eligible to participate in the “Save Half for Later” (SHFL) campaign, which offers patrons the option of saving half their meal when they order. Eligible restaurant managers completed a baseline survey to assess their reasons for selection of portion size, sense of social responsibility and attitudes towards healthy eating. We surveyed 27 restaurant managers. A majority stated that cost (66.7%) and customers' expectations (63.0%) influenced portions served. Managers felt a sense of social responsibility to promote health in the community (85.2%) while simultaneously believing that customers are responsible for eating an appropriate amount even when served a large portion (81.5%). The majority agreed that their customers are interested in healthy eating (55.5%) and would be responsive to the campaign (70.4%). SHFL offers a unique strategy for preventing and controlling obesity and diabetes. Local businesses acknowledge their role as community agents of health-related change and can play an important role in raising patrons' awareness about portion control and influencing healthy eating behaviors.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the relationship between the increased consumption of meals prepared outside of the home and dramatic rise in the prevalence of obesity and diabetes. 2. Analyze the incentives facing restaurant managers and how that enables or constrains portion control. 3. Describe the Save Half for Later campaign and managers’ attitudes toward the campaign.

Keywords: Food and Nutrition, Community-Based Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently the Program Manager of a a federally funded grant focusing on reducing and eliminating health disparities as they relate to diabetes and obesity. I have over 10 years of experience working on multiple chronic disease, community-based research studies and programs, mainly focused on cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and their risk factors.
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.