Coffee Chat: State & Local Policies for Incorporating Added-Sugar Warning Labels on Restaurant Menus

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April 17, 2024

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The Childhood Obesity Intervention Cost-Effectiveness Study (CHOICES) is a research project of the Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The CHOICES team is dedicated to promoting healthy decision-making and empowering individuals to make informed choices about their health and well-being through initiatives like Coffee Chats. These virtual gatherings provide a platform for open dialogue on topics related to health and nutrition. The meetings aim to inspire positive change by providing insight from both experts and participants. Coffee Chats are open to all, welcoming students, community members, and professionals alike to join the conversation and contribute their perspectives and experiences.

DeAnna Nara presented the Coffee Chat titled “State & Local Policies for Incorporating Added-Sugar Warning Labels on Restaurant Menus” on March 28, 2024. DeAnna Nara is the Senior Policy Associate at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering a safer food environment through their policy work in nutrition, food service, and health and wellness. DeAnna focuses on initiates to improve these food environments by reducing sodium and added sugar consumption. She also works on implementing strategies to reduce the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages. She is a licensed dietitian nutritionist and chairs the Washington DC board of nutrition and dietetics. Prior to her work at CPSI, she worked as a policy advisor and has an extensive history working with health and wellness policies. 

DeAnna’s presentation at the Coffee Chat explored the various strategies and challenges associated with implementing added-sugar warning labels at the local and state levels. Participants discussed the potential impact of such policies on public health and consumer behavior, as well as the role of advocacy and community engagement in driving policy change. The Coffee Chat provided an opportunity to share ideas on effective approaches for addressing the issue of excessive sugar consumption within the context of restaurant menus. The chat addressed the disproportionate exposure of under-resourced communities to fast food establishment and discussed how policies regarding added-sugar warnings could help mitigate health disparities in these communities, ultimately allowing individuals to make more informed choices about their diets. 

In summary, the CHOICES initiative promotes informed decision-making through informal Coffee Chats. These discussions serve as crucial platforms for addressing relevant health and nutrition topics. 

To learn more about DeAnna's work or CPSI, check out the following resources:

Submitted by: Ilana Patti and Claire Hickling Framingham State University Food and Nutrition Graduate Student in the Programa Coordinado en Dietética