NY Governor Wants Menus to List Calories

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NY Governor Wants Menus to List Calories

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Gov. David Paterson asked lawmakers yesterday to pass legislation requiring chain restaurants, supermarkets and convenience stores to post calorie information on menus, according to a report in The Journal News.

"Calorie posting we feel is going to be very significant because when people know what their choices are, they seem to make better health choices," Paterson said in the report.

A number of communities around the state have passed calorie-labeling measures, most notably New York City, said Nancy Huehnergarth, director of the New York State Health Eating and Physical Activity Alliance. Westchester County's calorie-labeling law took effect this month, and Ulster County passed a calorie-labeling law last month.

Citing a 2008 survey, Huehnergarth said the idea is popular with the public. The survey found 80 percent of New Yorkers are in favor of calorie labeling.

"Calorie labeling does not remove choices, nor does it tell consumers what they should or shouldn't eat. Rather, it provides consumers with the information they need, at point of purchase, to make healthier decisions for themselves and their families," she said.

Huehnergarth and the governor said the obesity epidemic costs New York $6 billion annually in obesity-related medical expenditures -- heart disease and diabetes are some of the diseases linked to obesity, according to The Journal News.

The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association and the New York State Public Health Association are some of the groups supporting the governor's proposal, and Senate Health Committee Chairman Thomas Duane, D-Manhattan, and Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, D-Brooklyn, said they would be sponsoring the governor's legislation.

Additionally, Paterson is also looking to pass legislation banning trans fats and limiting junk food in school, according to the report.

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