The United States Healthful Food Council (USHFC) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to fighting obesity, diabetes and other food related diseases by increasing access to healthful, affordable and sustainable food and beverages. The initial focus of the USHFC is on restaurants and other foodservice operations, which prepare a growing percentage of meals and play an increasing role in shaping the dietary habits of consumers.
Fostering Healthier Choices for Dining Out
The average American adult buys a meal or snack from a restaurant 5.8 times a weekWe all know the saying, “You are what you eat.” But as Americans eat more meals outside the home, that old saying could use an update — “You are what you eat — and where you eat.”
Dining out can be a game of nutrition roulette. Do you care how much sugar, salt and fat are added to your food and drinks? Does it matter what kind of oils in which your food is cooked? Are the vegetables and fruits fresh, frozen or canned? The answers to these types of questions are out of reach for most consumers, but they have a significant impact on public health. After all, the average American adult buys a meal or snack from a restaurant 5.8 times a week, and more than 30 percent of children eat fast food on any given day.
The USHFC is tackling this issue head on and is filling a void in addressing the national epidemics of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease. By partnering and certifying foodservice operations (restaurants, soup kitchens, cafeterias, others) as well as their suppliers, the USHFC can better align their interest with the public’s. We are proud to be working together to help confront this country’s public health crises — while also supporting the foodservice industry.
How we’re doing it:
REAL Certification Program
Recipe Analysis & Menu Labeling Program
Nutrition Consulting & Advisory Services
Why Is the USHFC Needed?
A large body of evidence suggests that the growing amounts of calorie-dense foods we’re eating away from home are contributing significantly to increased levels of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Although this is widely accepted, it is difficult to overstate its epidemic proportions:
Obesity and heart disease currently affect more than half the population.
Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death, and the risk factors for heart disease and incidence of many cancers continue to rise.
In the past 25 years, the number of overweight adults has doubled and the number of overweight children has tripled.
Many experts believe that improved nutrition and lifestyle can reduce illnesses and deaths from cancer by as much as 40%, death from cardiovascular disease by up to 30% and cases of diabetes by at least 50%. Unfortunately, America is moving in the wrong direction. Since 1990, diabetes has increased 61% and obesity 75%, and heart disease is now the number one killer of adults and second leading cause of death for children under 15.
Even small changes to our diet can have a tremendous national and global impact. For example, if the prevalence of obesity was the same today as 1987, health care spending in the U.S. would be 10% lower per person—saving $200 billion per year. Eliminating transfats from the U.S. food supply could prevent up to 1 in 5 heart attacks and related deaths. That would mean a quarter of a million fewer heart attacks and related deaths each year in the United States alone.