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Dietary Goals for Children

The Fit Kids Menu Initiative partners local restaurants with Virginia Tech faculty, students, and Virginia Cooperative Extension. 

VCE analyzes the nutrition content of participating restaurants’ children’s menus and provides assistance to restaurants so they can make small, affordable, and healthy changes to the menu and post nutrition information, if they choose.

The Fit Kids Menu logo can also be used to show a restaurant’s support of healthy children’s meals or to depict a healthy meal that meets specific dietary goals. Restaurants can then help Virginia Tech and Virginia Cooperative Extension fight childhood obesity, one piece at a time!

Resources for parents:

The Fit Kids Menus use the Kids LiveWell™ criteria, established by the National Restaurant Association to determine which meals and side items receive a healthy apple logo.  Download the Kids LiveWell app (iphone) (android) to identify healthy options at national chain restaurants participating in the National Restaurant Association Kids LiveWell program.

Resources for restaurant owners:

Partnership details:

Childhood obesity is a rapidly growing epidemic. One in three American children
is overweight or obese, three times more than 30 years ago. Children are also developing
serious health problems at a young age, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high
cholesterol levels. The next generation of children are not expected to live as long as their parents,
while the medical costs to society are enormous, almost 14 billion dollars each year. Restaurants can take part in addressing childhood obesity by offering healthy children’s meals to
their consumers.

Restaurants and Parents
More and more families are eating away from home, and parents are looking for healthy restaurants and healthy kids menus. In a recent survey, 73 percent of adults reported in the last two years they have tried to eat healthier at restaurants. The National Restaurant Association has also continually identified nutritious children’s menus as one of the top trends in both 2011 and 2012.

If a restaurant offers and markets a healthy kids menu, parents may be more likely to choose that restaurant for themselves and their families. Without compromising profits, restaurants can expand upon their customer base and brand loyalty by reaching a broader audience, all while still increasing market competitiveness. For parents, healthier kid’s menu items and incentives can encourage healthier choices without the meltdowns.

Nutrition Labeling on Menus
The Affordable Health Care Act mandates restaurants with more than 20 locations to post calorie information on their menus. Local and non-chain restaurants can stay ahead of their competitors by voluntarily offering nutrition information on menus.