July 13, 2011

15,000 Restaurants Join Kids LiveWell Initiative

Over 15,000 restaurants will be participating in a new voluntary initiative called Kids LiveWell starting Wednesday.

The National Restaurant Association and Health Dining unveiled the new initiative today.

Meals that will fit into the program include an entr©e, side dish and beverage that contain 600 calories or less. 

Burger King is joining in the initiative with its breakfast muffin sandwich with fresh apple slices and fat-free milk.

Corner Bakery Cafe's half turkey sandwich served on harvest break will also meet the criteria as it also features a side of baby carrots, fruit medley and low-fat milk.

These and other meals "meet the gold standard in terms of nutritional content," Anita Jones-Mueller, founder of Healthy Dining, told USA Today.

"Kids can eat French fries, hamburgers and fried foods some of the time when they are eating out, but not all the time."

Jones-Mueller said that some restaurants have only a couple of kids' meals that meet the criteria now.

Those meals that fit the criteria will carry an icon of a red apple beside it on the menu.

Dawn Sweeney, president of the National Restaurant Association, said the group is planning to expand the program to thousands of more restaurants in the coming weeks.

The types of food being offered will also follow the U.S. Department of Agriculture's food guidelines.

"The big issue is, will they be promoting the healthy guidelines, or will it just be one item on the menu and kids will still go to the fries," ABC News' chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser said in a report on its website.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 20 percent of children aged 6 to 11 are obese.


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