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Cities Say Restaurant Nutrition Information Crucial in Fighting Obesity
Date:9/11/2007

Statement by Donald J. Borut, Executive Director of the National League of

Cities

WASHINGTON, Sept. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following statement was issued today by Donald J. Borut, Executive Director of the National League of Cities:

Regarding today's ruling by the US District Court, Southern District of New York, on the City of New York's proposed efforts to address the rapidly growing public health crisis of obesity by requiring disclosure of nutritional information for restaurant foods:

"Although the Court ruled against the City of New York, we consider it a win overall because the court clearly recognized the right of state and local governments to require nutrition labeling for restaurants. At least 14 states and three major cities have passed or are considering nutrition labeling for restaurants. Today's court ruling offers clear guidelines for them to follow.

"Cities are involved in this effort because of the growing obesity epidemic across the country. This epidemic has enormous social and fiscal cost implications for states and local governments, not the least of which are premature death and disability, staggering health care costs and lost productivity.

"More Americans than ever eat out, and restaurant foods tend to have higher calorie counts than home-cooked meals. At the same time, consumers consistently underestimate the number of calories in menu items. For example, a smoked turkey sandwich (930 calories) at Chili's has more calories than a sirloin steak (540 calories). A large milk shake from McDonald's has more than 1,000 calories, about half the daily recommended intake. Two jelly- filled donuts from Dunkin' Donuts have fewer calories than a sesame bagel with cream cheese.

"Requiring restaurants to disclose nutritional information is one of many strategies being used by governments to fight this public health problem. In fact, organizations such as the US Surgeon General, the Food and Drug Association, the National Academies' Institute of Medicine and the American Medical Association have all recommended nutritional labeling of restaurant food as a useful strategy for addressing obesity.

"This effort is not in any way an attempt to restrict consumers from consuming whatever they want; instead, it is an effort to provide them with clear information to make healthy choices."

NLC will continue to work with cities on a variety of strategies to promote wellness and combat childhood obesity. For more information on NLC's work to combat obesity, go to http://www.nlc.org.

The National League of Cities is the nation's oldest and largest organization devoted to strengthening and promoting cities as centers of opportunity, leadership and governance. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.


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SOURCE National League of Cities
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