Well-Ahead Louisiana and the Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA) are joining efforts to help state residents live healthier lifestyles by offering healthier options on restaurant menus.

“Louisiana is renowned for its food and culture. Unfortunately, we also have the highest obesity rates in the nation and lead the nation in other preventable chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke,” Melissa R. Martin, Director of the Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, said. “In a time when Americans are eating out more than ever, this partnership with LRA is an opportunity to help residents make smarter and healthier food choices.”

Offering healthier options benefits restaurants, too, as many consumers become more health-conscious.

One way restaurants can make a difference is by seeking designation as a Well-Ahead WellSpot. Designation is achieved by meeting wellness benchmarks that include offering and promoting healthy menu options, offering healthy options on the children’s menu and including low-fat milk or water as the default beverage, and accommodating dietary restrictions.

“As Louisianans come to rely on restaurants for more of their meals, and health and wellness becomes a concern for much of our population, we encourage restaurants to take advantage of the free resources available through Well-Ahead Louisiana,” said Stan Harris, President and CEO of the Louisiana Restaurant Association. “Nearly 70 restaurants across Louisiana have already been designated as WellSpots, offering their customers a variety of menu options to aid them in making healthy food choices.”

To become a WellSpot, restaurant owners can visit wellaheadla.com and click ‘become a WellSpot.’ They will then be connected with a Well-Ahead team member who will assist them in meeting the benchmarks and becoming designated.

Residents who want to be more health-conscious when they eat out should ask restaurants about their healthy menu options, as they may not be listed on the regular menu. Residents can also search the WellSpot network for designated restaurants near them here.

About Well-Ahead:

Well-Ahead Louisiana is an initiative started by the Louisiana Department of Health aimed at improving the health and wellness of Louisiana residents. Well-Ahead Louisiana promotes and recognizes smart choices in the spaces and places we live and work every day that make it easier for us all to live healthier lives, from going tobacco-free to ensuring healthy lunch options or supporting workplace fitness programs. To learn more visit www.wellaheadla.com or follow us on Facebook @WellAheadLA or on LinkedIn @Well-Ahead Louisiana.

About Louisiana Restaurant Association:

The Louisiana Restaurant Association is one of the largest business organizations in the state, representing restaurant operations and related businesses. The restaurant industry in Louisiana is the state’s largest private employer, providing jobs to more than 200,000 residents. Restaurants in Louisiana are expected to generate sales of $8.9 billion in 2017. Get up-to-date news about the LRA and the restaurant industry from www.lra.org.

The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state residents. To learn more about LDH, visit www.ldh.la.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow LDH's Twitter account and Facebook