Local restaurants will create healthier menus as part of community programs designed to address childhood obesity, Texas State University researchers find.

The Best Food for Families, Infants, and Toddlers (Best Food FITS) program sought to improve San Marcos, Texas children's access to healthy diets through partnerships with local restaurants. The restaurants participated by removing sugar-sweetened beverages, decreasing the number of energy-dense entrées, and/or increasing fruit and vegetable offerings on restaurant menus.

San Marcos, the fastest growing US city, has more restaurants and fewer grocery stores than other Texas cities. More than 70 percent of children are Hispanic; overweight and obesity rates among school children exceed 50 percent.

Sixteen independent restaurants and 1 chain restaurant implemented new menus as part of the FITS program. Researchers note that he approach taken in this case study can be adapted to other communities.

Article: Improving Children's Menus in Community Restaurants: Best Food for Families, Infants, and Toddlers (Best Food FITS) Intervention, South Central Texas, 2010-2014, Sylvia Hurd Crixell, PhD, RD, Texas State University, Preventing Chronic Disease, published 24 December 2014.