Healthy food campaign puts fruit and vegetables back on menu
The Health Ministry on Thursday launched a plan that aims to encourage Spaniards to eat healthier food at restaurants as part of an effort to fight obesity.7 March 2008
MADRID - The Health Ministry on Thursday launched a plan that aims to encourage Spaniards to eat healthier food at restaurants as part of an effort to fight obesity.
The measures proposed by the Ministry include encouraging restaurants to offer clients healthy food options such as vegetables or beans for the starter, fish for the main course and fresh fruit, juice or nuts for dessert. Close to 26,000 restaurants throughout Spain which accept lunch tickets are eligible to apply for a special classification from the Health Ministry's AESAN agency, which promotes healthier eating habits. This classification will inform clients that an establishment is deemed to serve healthy food.
In addition, restaurants will be discouraged from putting salt shakers on clients' tables at the start of meals. Similar initiatives have already worked successfully in France and Italy, said AESAN director José Ignacio Arranz, who added that the best way to drive home such a message to the public is through "friendliness" rather than by a strict ordinance.
A national health survey carried out in 2006 found that 52 percent of Spaniards were medically overweight, while 15 percent were classified as obese.
[Copyright EL PAÍS 2008]