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90.5 WESA reporters look at food issues in the region, including access, school lunch programs, food history, culture and more. Check our collection of stories below.

Allegheny County Endorses Restaurants For 'Live Well' Program

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Deanna Garcia
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90.5 WESA

Allegheny County Health Department officials announced their first group of “Live Well” restaurants on Thursday in a continued effort to provide healthier options to locals.

The list, so far, includes the Bridges Restaurant in the Oakland Wyndham hotel and four UPMC hospital cafeterias and cafes.

Allegheny County Health Department Director Karen Hacker said in order for a restaurant to be a “live well” establishment, it must offer several menu amenities, such as half portions, healthy sides, low-calorie dressings, as well as provide nutritional and calorie information.

“We also ask that restaurants ensure that they are not using trans fats and that they are smoke-free,” Hacker said. “But beyond that, we gave them a list of a number of opportunities, all of which were evidence-based, that were healthy options they could offer their clientele.”

Restaurants must also provide spots for patrons to leave bicycles and be “recognized by another healthy restaurant certification.”

The county launched the “Live Well Allegheny” program in 2014. It includes 22 communities and five school districts.

“Certain information and education is helpful, but ultimately each individual is going to have to make good choices,” Hacker said. “We believe that to surround people with healthy choices, at least, makes it easier to make that decision.”