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FDA Delays Rule That Promotes Healthier Living; Hospital Programs Help Address Healthy Eating and Fight Hunger

May 08, 2017

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that it will delay implementation of the Menu Labeling Rule. The rule was developed to support the nutrition labeling provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aimed at addressing the obesity epidemic and the importance of healthy living.

Under the Menu Labeling Rule, chain restaurants and stores with 20 or more locations that sell prepared food must disclose the caloric and nutrition information for standard food items. The goal of the rule is to make nutritional and calorie information easily accessible to consumers so they can make healthy food choices.

FDA officials extended the compliance date from May 5, 2017, to May 7, 2018, to allow for further consideration of opportunities to reduce costs and enhance flexibility. The FDA opened a 60-day comment period, which began May 4, 2017.

The ACA has spurred numerous programs within the health care delivery system aimed at keeping people healthy and out of the hospital. Pennsylvania hospitals and health systems are doing their part in promoting health and nutrition. Many have started organic farms and gardens. They offer healthier food options to patients and in their cafeterias. Others provide healthy food for patients leaving the hospital; host community healthy food cooking classes; and reach out to local neighborhoods to address food insecurity. Across the commonwealth there are more than two million Pennsylvanians, including half a million children, with limited access to nutritious food (food insecure).

In Philadelphia, 22 percent of residents, nearly one quarter of them children, are food insecure. Local hospitals and health systems in the region are engaging community stakeholders to address this challenge through a multi-provider effort known as the Southeastern Pennsylvania Collaborative Opportunities to Advance Community Health (COACH).

By fighting hunger and expanding the availability of healthy food options, hospitals across the state are taking important steps that can change health status and improve peoples’ quality of life.

For more information about the FDA announcement, please contact Phillip M. Burrell, director, health market research.

For more information about COACH, please contact Rob Shipp, vice president, population health strategies.

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