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Improving children's menus in community restaurants: best food for families, infants, and toddlers (Best Food FITS) intervention, South Central Texas, 2010-2014.

Crixell SH, Friedman B, Fisher DT, Biediger-Friedman L - Prev Chronic Dis (2014)

Bottom Line: Improving menus in restaurants can be a simple step toward changing children's food habits.The approach taken in this case study can be adapted to other communities.Minimal funding would be needed to facilitate development of promotional items to support brand recognition.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Professor, School of Family and Consumer Sciences, Nutrition and Foods, Texas State University, 601 University Drive, San Marcos, Texas 78666. Email: scrixell@txstate.edu.

ABSTRACT

Background: Approximately 32% of US children are overweight or obese. Restaurant and fast food meals contribute 18% of daily calories for children and adolescents aged 2 to 18 years. Changing children's menus may improve their diets. This case study describes Best Food for Families, Infants, and Toddlers (Best Food FITS), a community-based intervention designed to address childhood obesity. The objective of this study was to improve San Marcos children's access to healthy diets through partnerships with local restaurants, removing sugar-sweetened beverages, decreasing the number of energy-dense entrées, and increasing fruit and vegetable offerings on restaurant menus.

Community context: San Marcos, Texas, the fastest growing US city, has more restaurants and fewer grocery stores than other Texas cities. San Marcos's population is diverse; 37.8% of residents and 70.3% of children are Hispanic. Overweight and obesity rates among school children exceed 50%; 40.3% of children live below the poverty level.

Methods: This project received funding from the Texas Department of State Health Services Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Prevention Program to develop Best Food FITS. The case study consisted of developing a brand, engaging community stakeholders, reviewing existing children's menus in local restaurants, administering owner-manager surveys, collaborating with restaurants to improve menus, and assessing the process and outcomes of the intervention.

Outcome: Best Food FITS regularly participated in citywide health events and funded the construction of a teaching kitchen in a new community building where regular nutrition classes are held. Sixteen independent restaurants and 1 chain restaurant implemented new menus.

Interpretation: Improving menus in restaurants can be a simple step toward changing children's food habits. The approach taken in this case study can be adapted to other communities. Minimal funding would be needed to facilitate development of promotional items to support brand recognition.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Sample Preintervention and Best Food for Families, Infants, and Toddlers (Best Food FITS) Menu from a Mexican Food Restaurant in San Marcos, Texas. The Best Food FITS menu includes the a) Best Food FITS logo, b) the popular Broccolicious character, and c) other characters. All graphics were created by the marketing department at Texas State University.
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Figure 1: Sample Preintervention and Best Food for Families, Infants, and Toddlers (Best Food FITS) Menu from a Mexican Food Restaurant in San Marcos, Texas. The Best Food FITS menu includes the a) Best Food FITS logo, b) the popular Broccolicious character, and c) other characters. All graphics were created by the marketing department at Texas State University.

Mentions: To foster brand recognition, we collaborated with the university marketing department to develop a Best Food FITS logo and cartoon graphics of vegetables designed to appeal to children. The logo and graphics were used on Best Food FITS promotional items (eg, T-shirts, bumper stickers, health fair posters) and menus (Figure 1). A Best Food FITS logo decal was later affixed to doors of participating restaurants. The brand was advertised throughout the community through articles in local newspapers, a television interview, social media, and community health partner organizations.


Improving children's menus in community restaurants: best food for families, infants, and toddlers (Best Food FITS) intervention, South Central Texas, 2010-2014.

Crixell SH, Friedman B, Fisher DT, Biediger-Friedman L - Prev Chronic Dis (2014)

Sample Preintervention and Best Food for Families, Infants, and Toddlers (Best Food FITS) Menu from a Mexican Food Restaurant in San Marcos, Texas. The Best Food FITS menu includes the a) Best Food FITS logo, b) the popular Broccolicious character, and c) other characters. All graphics were created by the marketing department at Texas State University.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4279868&req=5

Figure 1: Sample Preintervention and Best Food for Families, Infants, and Toddlers (Best Food FITS) Menu from a Mexican Food Restaurant in San Marcos, Texas. The Best Food FITS menu includes the a) Best Food FITS logo, b) the popular Broccolicious character, and c) other characters. All graphics were created by the marketing department at Texas State University.
Mentions: To foster brand recognition, we collaborated with the university marketing department to develop a Best Food FITS logo and cartoon graphics of vegetables designed to appeal to children. The logo and graphics were used on Best Food FITS promotional items (eg, T-shirts, bumper stickers, health fair posters) and menus (Figure 1). A Best Food FITS logo decal was later affixed to doors of participating restaurants. The brand was advertised throughout the community through articles in local newspapers, a television interview, social media, and community health partner organizations.

Bottom Line: Improving menus in restaurants can be a simple step toward changing children's food habits.The approach taken in this case study can be adapted to other communities.Minimal funding would be needed to facilitate development of promotional items to support brand recognition.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Professor, School of Family and Consumer Sciences, Nutrition and Foods, Texas State University, 601 University Drive, San Marcos, Texas 78666. Email: scrixell@txstate.edu.

ABSTRACT

Background: Approximately 32% of US children are overweight or obese. Restaurant and fast food meals contribute 18% of daily calories for children and adolescents aged 2 to 18 years. Changing children's menus may improve their diets. This case study describes Best Food for Families, Infants, and Toddlers (Best Food FITS), a community-based intervention designed to address childhood obesity. The objective of this study was to improve San Marcos children's access to healthy diets through partnerships with local restaurants, removing sugar-sweetened beverages, decreasing the number of energy-dense entrées, and increasing fruit and vegetable offerings on restaurant menus.

Community context: San Marcos, Texas, the fastest growing US city, has more restaurants and fewer grocery stores than other Texas cities. San Marcos's population is diverse; 37.8% of residents and 70.3% of children are Hispanic. Overweight and obesity rates among school children exceed 50%; 40.3% of children live below the poverty level.

Methods: This project received funding from the Texas Department of State Health Services Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Prevention Program to develop Best Food FITS. The case study consisted of developing a brand, engaging community stakeholders, reviewing existing children's menus in local restaurants, administering owner-manager surveys, collaborating with restaurants to improve menus, and assessing the process and outcomes of the intervention.

Outcome: Best Food FITS regularly participated in citywide health events and funded the construction of a teaching kitchen in a new community building where regular nutrition classes are held. Sixteen independent restaurants and 1 chain restaurant implemented new menus.

Interpretation: Improving menus in restaurants can be a simple step toward changing children's food habits. The approach taken in this case study can be adapted to other communities. Minimal funding would be needed to facilitate development of promotional items to support brand recognition.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus