City Awarded Silver Medal From Let’s Move! Cities Initiative
NEW ORLEANS – The City of New Orleans announced a more progressive approach to improving the workplace environment through vending and food services guidelines designed to drive healthier eating habits. City reps said these guidelines will provide stronger nutritional standards for vending machines on City properties, thus giving City employees and residents access to healthier food options.
This policy change has earned the City of New Orleans the silver medal for Model Food Service from Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties initiatives of the National League of Cities.
“If we are going to reach our goal of becoming a healthier city by the city’s 300th anniversary in 2018, we must create policies that will aid in effectively promoting healthy choices,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “We are working toward creating a city where the healthy choice is the easy choice. This is another step in the right direction.”
“As we completed the Fit NOLA Business Assessment for the City of New Orleans, it became clear that we needed to be providing healthier food options at City buildings,” said Charlotte Parent, Director of the New Orleans Health Department. “Through this updated policy, we can now set an example for other local businesses and demonstrate the City’s commitment to creating a culture of health among our employees.”
“While obesity and chronic diseases continue to rise, the City of New Orleans is setting an excellent example for other cities to follow by implementing a city wide healthy food policy,” said Stacy Harper, Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Public Health Service, which is the lead federal agency working on Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties. “This will enable the City of New Orleans to have a positive impact on the eating habits of residents and visitors.”
In December of 2012, Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed an executive order, which outlines the development and implementation of a standard for healthier foods and beverages in the vending and food services options at City Hall and other City-owned parks and facilities. This policy update outlines stricter standards that must meet the U.S. Health and Human Services and U.S. General Services Administration Health and Sustainability guidelines.
“We recognize the important role employers play in sustaining a healthy workforce,” said Andy Kopplin, Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer for the City. “The updated policy is one way we are giving our employees the tools they need to lead a healthy life and make a positive health impact on our city.”
The New Orleans Health Department, in partnership with The American Heart Association, will be leading the effort to educate vendors and City employees about the new policy. This will include workshops with City employees and vendors about the new guidelines and taste tests in City Hall to allow employees to vote on what items they want to see available in vending machines.
“It is exciting to see New Orleans adopt healthy food services guidelines that are designed to help employees make healthier decisions,” says Dr. Louis Glade, American Heart Association President of the Board. “Congratulations to the City of New Orleans for making the health of their employees a top priority. I hope this now challenges the state government to follow New Orleans’s lead and enact a healthy and food services policy.”
This policy is designed to directly combat obesity numbers in the City of New Orleans. Thirty-two percent of adults in the City of New Orleans are obese, and adults with obesity spend forty-two percent more on healthcare costs than healthy-weight adults. In addition to that, thirteen percent of New Orleans children are obese and that number is increasing according to the American Heart Association.
The policy will also support the growing consumer demand for healthier options. Unhealthy foods and beverages are leading causes of diabetes and heart disease, and it is important for the City to offer healthy options to city employees and to those who visit public buildings and attend public events – including children.