Win-for-healthy-food-choices-on-City-of-New-Orleans-properties

Win for healthy food choices on City of New Orleans properties

New Orleans city government employees and visitors will soon have more healthy food options when on city properties. On Monday, Feb. 22, the City of New Orleans announced healthy updates to its vending and food service policy. The updated policy will not only make it easier for city employees and residents to make healthier food choices, but also challenges local businesses, surrounding communities, and the state of Louisiana to enact similar policies.

The new policy ensures that any food sold on city property or provided at meetings and events held by the city will meet the U.S. Health and Human Services and U.S. General Services Administration Health and Sustainability guidelines. For vending machines, all snack and beverage offerings will need to meet healthy sodium and trans fat standards and at least half of the vending offerings will meet healthy calorie, fat, and sugar standards. The complete policy is available on the City of New Orleans website.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu, whose administration also created the city’s Fit NOLA program noted: "If we are going to reach our goal of becoming a healthier city by the city's 300th anniversary in 2018, we must create policies that will aid in effectively promoting healthy choices. We are working toward creating a city where the healthy choice is the easy choice. This is another step in the right direction."

The healthy vending and food service policy also attracted national attention, as it has earned the city the silver medal for Model Food Service from the Let's Move! Cities, Towns and Counties initiative of the National League of Cities. Speaking on behalf of Let's Move! Cities, Towns and Counties, Stacy Harper, Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Public Health Service, praised the City of New Orleans: "While obesity and chronic diseases continue to rise, the City of New Orleans is setting an excellent example for other cities to follow by implementing a city wide healthy food policy. This will enable the City of New Orleans to have a positive impact on the eating habits of residents and visitors."

To support a successful policy implementation, the city is partnering with the American Heart Association to educate vendors and city employees about the new policy. City employees will have the opportunity to attend workshops and taste tests to vote on items they would like to see in the vending machines. President of the Board of the American Heart Association, Dr. Louis Glade congratulated the city: "It is exciting to see New Orleans adopt healthy food services guidelines that are designed to help employees make healthier decisions. Congratulations to the City of New Orleans for making the health of their employees a top priority. I hope this now challenges the state government to follow New Orleans' lead and enact a healthy food services policy."

To learn more about this topic, join the Tulane PRC, Fit NOLA, and guest host Voices for Healthy Kids on Thursday, March 3, from 12 – 1pm for a Twitter chat on "Healthier Food Choices in Public Places." To join, follow #LiveFitNOLA on Twitter.

By Adrienne Mundorf, Tulane PRC staff
February 2016

(Photo by Tulane PRC staff: New Orleans Health Department Director Charlotte Parent and city officials announce a new policy to offer healthier food choices on city properties at a news conference on Feb. 22, 2016.)

Topics:   food environment , worksite wellness , policy , obesity

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