A comprehensive menu labeling standard is needed to support healthy choices

April 4, 2013, The Huffington Post

This article was co-authored by former Secretaries Dan Glickman and Ann M. Veneman.

In an effort to help Americans make more informed food choices, the Affordable Care Act created a national menu labeling standard for food establishments with 20 or more locations. Recently, several types of establishments that serve food — for example, movie theaters and supermarkets — have sought exemption from calorie labeling requirements. Such exemptions would create a patchwork system that will prevent Americans from knowing the caloric content of far too much of the food they purchase and consume.

As a nation facing rising rates of obesity and related chronic diseases that cost our health care system hundreds of billions each year, we know we need to make prevention a primary focus. Healthy eating and active living, as recommended by the federal 2010 Dietary Guidelines and the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, are critical health behaviors that can prevent many chronic diseases. But changing individual behavior is only possible when supported by an environment that helps make the healthy choice the easy choice. Continue reading