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Tennessee Funds REAL, An Innovative Approach to Combating Diabetes and Obesity

September 19, 2016

REAL Certified Program Ensures Participating Eateries Offer Healthy, Nutrient-Rich Menu Items

Washington, DC (PRUnderground) September 7th, 2016

In an effort to help reverse the growing epidemics of diabetes and obesity, the Tennessee Department of Health has awarded another three-year grant to the United States Healthful Food Council’s REAL Certified nutrition and sustainability best practices certification program. The continued $450,000 of funding will be over the next three years and comes through the Department’s “Project Diabetes,” which has the goal of decreasing the incidence of diabetes by increasing access to healthy food options and physical activity in the State of Tennessee.

USHFC-REAL-logo-JPEG“By improving access to healthy food options, we hope to decrease the rates of obesity and related diseases that negatively impact the health and well-being of families across the state of Tennessee,” said Dr. Morgan McDonald, Assistant Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health. “Changing food culture to a healthier default in restaurants is an important step in that process.”

Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership (REAL) Certified is a growing national program that works with restaurants and foodservice operators to promote healthier, more sustainable food and beverages. There are currently almost 400 REAL Certified establishments across the United States and Canada, with over 80 in Tennessee. In addition to meeting national certification standards, Tennessee’s REAL Certified establishments must implement at least one recommended improvement. These changes cover a variety of options to increase healthful and sustainable practices in each establishment.

“We are grateful for the continued vision of the State in understanding the important role that the food environment plays in shaping dietary habits,” said Lawrence Williams, CEO of USHFC.

The USHFC has also partnered with the Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness, Tennessee State Parks, and the Memphis Business Group on Health to help expand the REAL Certified initiative broadly across the state.

About United States Healthful Food Council

Established in 2012, the USHFC is a 501(c)(3) registered nonprofit, dedicated to fighting diet-related disease by realigning the food industry’s incentives with consumers’ health interests. The USHFC works towards its mission through the REAL Certified holistic nutrition and sustainability certification program. REAL Certified foodservice operators must satisfy prerequisites and earn sufficient points in the areas of Responsible (nutrition), Epicurean (preparation), Agricultural (sourcing) and Leadership (going above and beyond). More information can be found at eatREAL.org.