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Posted: Tuesday, 05 August 2014 6:35AM

Will healthier menu options help fight obesity?

Studies consistently show Louisiana to be among the most obese states in the nation.  Some say one reason the state's obesity rate is so high is because we eat out at restaurants, a lot.
Dare To Be Healthy Program Coordinator Janice Ackley says they are working to combat the obesity rate.
"We are working with local restaurants to launch this new program that helps us to easily identify healthier options on restaurant menus."
The Dare To Be Healthy initiative has launched "Eat Healthy SWLA" to help people make healthier choices at restaurants.  Entree options must be under 600 calories, less than 800 milligrams of sodium, and less than 10 percent saturated fat to get the Eat Healthy SWLA stamp of approval.  Ackley says her group enlists the help of registered dietitians to work with restaurants.
"So it's actually experts in the field who go out and consult with the local restaurants."
The initiative is funded by a grant from Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation.  Ackley says they are also educating the public on how to eat healthier when they eat out.  She says they are encouraging people to build healthier salads, cut out the salt, and use portion control when ordering at a restaurant.
"Perhaps asking the server to go ahead and pack half and only serve you half the menu.  That way you can eat your half of the dish at your table and then you pack half and bring home for later."

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