FDA: Restaurants Have Role to Play in Sorting Out U.S. Obesity
> 6/2/2006 12:44:16 PM

As reported by CNN, the FDA has released the findings of an inquiry that the administration had commissioned to look into how Americans can fight the obesity epidemic while eating away from home. Compiled by the Keystone Forum, the report found that Americans now consume one third of their daily caloric intake outside of the home.

The report does not explicitly link dining out with the rising tide of obesity, but does cite numerous studies that suggest there is a connection.

The report encourages restaurants to shift the emphasis of their marketing to lower-calorie choices, and include more such options on menus. In addition, restaurants could adjust portion sizes and the variety of foods available in mixed dishes to reduce the overall number of calories taken in by diners.

But while the report can encourage restaurants to make changes, Shelia Cohn of the National Restaurant Association hits the nail on the head when she is quoted as saying, "It's not really the responsibility of restaurants to restrict the foods that they offer."

The one thing that restaurants can't ignore however, is economics, and if a particular establishment continues to only offer unhealthy options, then they can consider themselves fairly warned. It ultimately will fall to the general public to "vote with their feet" and let business owners what they are willing to accept and what just won't cut it anymore.

Whether or not this will actually happen is certainly still an area up for debate. The market research firm, NPD Group says that last year when Americans ate out, their three most popular choices were hamburgers, french fries and pizza. Not necessarily a step in the right direction.

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