ADA supports national restaurant menu labeling legislation

September 8, 2010

The government's role in improving the nation's nutrition is now firmly established with nutritional labeling for restaurant meals now mandated across the United States as part of HR 3590 Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act. An article in the September issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association explains how state and municipal labeling laws developed and how the new national law will supersede these and replace them with a uniform standard. It also addresses the American Dietetic Association's (ADA's) involvement and how these new regulations will impact registered dietitians (RDs) and dietetic technicians, registered (DTRs) as well as consumers.

With enactment of the new law and detailed regulations to be issued by the , restaurants and food vendors with 20 or more outlets will be required to post calories on menus, menu boards (including drive-through) and food display tags, with additional nutrient information (fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates, sodium, protein, and fiber) available in writing upon request. Calorie posting requirements will also apply to managed by companies that operate at least 20 machines.

This new legislation will ensure that restaurant diners are provided with tools to make informed, healthful choices regarding the foods they consume outside the home. The article provides insights into how this law may work, including recommendations for how RDs may play a critical part in a successful implementation of this national standard.

"ADA members are poised to become leaders in the push to offer information on more-healthful items at restaurants, to analyze and revise the nutrient information required of standard menu items, and to provide quality assurance that the posted information is accurate, as well as the likely future need of clients in understanding how to use this nutrient information in determining their daily dietary needs and making the most of what the law intends," commented an ADA Policy Initiatives and Advocacy staff member.

Jeanne Blankenship, MS, RD, CLE, ADA's vice president of Policy Initiatives and Advocacy, shared her thoughts regarding the first impact of the legislation that a majority of ADA members would notice, and how it might impact their practice plans: "Members may begin to see clients and patients who have seen the information on restaurant menus, but don't know how to use the information to make healthier choices. This is an opportunity for registered dietitians (RDs) and dietetic technicians, registered (DTRs), to help consumers as they struggle to achieve a healthy lifestyle. In states that have already adopted menu labeling, RDs and DTRs have already incorporated key messages into delivering nutrition education."

More information: The article is "A National Approach to Restaurant Menu Labeling: The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, Section 4205" by Karen Stein, MFA. It appears in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Volume 110, Issue 9 (September 2010).

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Sunrise and sunset guide daily activities of city-dwellers

November 21, 2017
Despite artificial lightning and social conventions, the dynamics of daylight still influence the daily activities of people living in modern, urban environments, according to new research published in PLOS Computational ...

Older men need more protein to maintain muscles

November 21, 2017
The amount of protein recommended by international guidelines is not sufficient to maintain muscle size and strength in older men, according to a new study.

Exercising and eating well are greater contributors to health than standing at work

November 21, 2017
By now you've probably heard the edict from the health community: Sitting is the new smoking. Perhaps you've converted to a standing desk, or maybe you have a reminder on your phone to get up once an hour and walk around ...

Changes in young people's sexual practices over the last 20 years revealed

November 20, 2017
Published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, the study describes changes in young people's sexual practices using nationally-representative data from the National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal), the ...

Motorcycle crashes cause five times as many deaths as car accidents, six times the health costs

November 20, 2017
Motorcycle accidents are costly in terms of lives and health care costs. Compared with car accidents, motorcycle accidents cause 3 times the injuries, 6 times the medical costs and 5 times the deaths, found new research in ...

Dog ownership linked to lower mortality

November 17, 2017
A team of Swedish scientists have used national registries of more than 3.4 million Swedes aged 40 to 80 to study the association between dog ownership and cardiovascular health. Their study shows that dog owners had a lower ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.