As part of their ongoing battle against obesity, Los Angeles County health officials announced a program today highlighting restaurants that serve healthier children's meals and offer smaller portion sizes.
The program, dubbed Choose Health LA Restaurants, is the latest effort by the county Department of Public Health aimed at fighting obesity through education.
Restaurant goers can identify qualifying establishments online at www.ChooseHealthLA.com and through window decals. Subway, Poquito Mas, Roman's Pizza, My Fit Foods and several other restaurants have already qualified for the program.
Participating restaurants are required to offer smaller portion sizes and serve children's meals that include fruit, vegetables, healthy beverages and non-fried foods. They must also offer chilled water free of charge. Restaurant owners can download Choose Health applications at the program's website.
Poquito Mas owner Kevin McCarney said the healthy options have already led to more customers.
Nearly two-thirds of county residents are overweight or obese, and the average American eats at a restaurant four times a week, according to Public Health Director Jonathan E. Fielding.
"Fundamental changes in diet can be difficult," Fielding said. "Offering both regular and smaller portions at restaurants makes a healthy choice an easier choice."
Previous Choose Health initiatives were aimed at educating residents on sugary drinks and weight-loss options.