What you don’t know…

Right now you are riding on the information superhighway, the Internet. Where we are supposed to have every tidbit of information that we could need or want virtually (and literally) at our fingertips. But, do we really have all the information that we need, whether from the Internet or other sources? And, how easy is that information to understand, digest and put to use in our everyday lives?

I ask you these questions because there has been a tidal wave across the globe of providing nutrition information on foods and beverages at point of purchase. Menu labeling in chain restaurants is now law in four states including Maine, California, Oregon and Massachusetts. Menu labeling legislation has also passed in multiple municipalities, most notably and the first to pass this type of law was New York City. This wave has to do with a consumer’s right to know and have easy access to information that has a direct effect on their health. How are you supposed to make an informed choice if the information you need to make that choice is not easily available when you need it?

Menu labeling legislation has reached national prominence and is a part of health reform – H.R. 3962 Affordable Health Care for America Act.

The rationale behind the Nutrition Facts label is to provide consumers with information to help them make informed food and beverage choices that contribute to a healthy diet. While you can trust the information on the Nutrition Facts label as being sound and accurate, it may not be easy for you to understand and use. This is where programs such as Guiding Stars can help you make informed and easy decisions about which foods and beverages to use. Guiding Stars is based on the information provided on the Nutrition Facts label. I work in public health and am passionate about people having easy access to healthy choices where they live, work and play.

Lori Kaley MS, MSB, RD, LD is a member of the Guiding Stars Scientific Advisory Panel. Lori has been keeping Maine residents healthy and active for years. She is the Manager of the Public Health Programs at the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service. Plus, she worked with Healthy Maine Partnerships to create the Maine Physical Activity and Nutrition Program. Lori’s passion for nutritional community outreach has been a cornerstone of the Guiding Stars Scientific Advisory Panel. Lori regularly contributes to the Guiding Stars blog.