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Statement by American Dietetic Association Supporting Scientifically Valid, Informative Restaurant Labeling as Part of Health Reform
Date:6/10/2009

WASHINGTON, June 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following statement was issued Wednesday, June 10, by registered dietitian and American Dietetic Association President Jessie M. Pavlinac, following a press conference by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D.-Iowa) announcing an agreement on national restaurant menu labeling to be included in the Senate's Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pension's draft of health-care reform legislation.

"The American Dietetic Association is a strong advocate for policies that will improve the lives of Americans through food and nutrition strategies. There is no goal more important in the current debate over health reform than to have a lasting, positive impact on all Americans' health. Nutrition is at the foundation of health - necessary to be healthy and effective in preventing delaying, offsetting and managing disease. We support policies that facilitate good nutrition, including consumer-tested nutrition information and education and financial support for research.

"We see the inclusion of restaurant menu labeling provisions in health reform appropriate to achieving that goal. People need scientifically valid and understandable nutrition information to make healthful choices in all venues, including restaurants. Providing good, accurate and tested information to a consumer educated in nutrition basics can have a powerful effect on food selection at the point of sale. Over time, the act of millions of people making healthful choices can impact the health of the nation and improve the food supply by consumer demand.

"A national approach will be helpful to consumers' utilization and understanding of the information presented. Basic information on the menu or menu board would be complemented with more detailed information on fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates, sugars, dietary fiber and protein being available upon request.

"For those who simply want to maintain their health and those who need to manage their diets to offset chronic disease, such information is important. Research has shown that nutrition labeling in restaurants can beneficially influence food choices for some consumers. However, nutrition information alone is not enough. Nutrition education is critical.

"ADA commends your work on behalf of better nutrition policies and programs. ADA will seek implementation that does credit to this effort by ensuring evaluation and continued dialogue to ensure a positive consumer impact."

The American Dietetic Association is the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. ADA is committed to improving the nation's health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the American Dietetic Association at www.eatright.org.


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SOURCE American Dietetic Association
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