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The National Restaurant Association has earned the 2012 ASAE Gold Circle Award for its media relations campaign launching the groundbreaking Kids LiveWell program. The first-of-its-kind voluntary industry initiative provides parents with a growing selection of healthful children’s menu choices when dining out, with a focus on increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy, and limiting unhealthy fats, sugars, and sodium.
“The National Restaurant Association created Kids LiveWell to help restaurants highlight their healthful children’s meal choices and tell the industry’s positive story of creating innovative solutions to provide better-for-you menu options,” says Sue Hensley, senior vice president of public affairs communications for the Association. “Restaurant companies from across the industry have been excited to join the program, and the positive feedback from consumers has reinforced the demand for such an initiative.”
The National Restaurant Association launched Kids LiveWell in July 2011 with 19 restaurant brands.
The initial rollout at the National Press Club included an interactive tasting event with chefs from the inaugural brand leaders providing samples of their new kids’ menu items to children and parents in attendance, as well as satellite and radio media tours featuring Association President and CEO Dawn Sweeney and Director of Nutrition and Healthy Living Joy Dubost, Ph.D., R.D.
The Kids LiveWell launch generated tens of millions of media impressions across traditional and social media for the program and the National Restaurant Association.
“Fueled by this impressive start just eight months ago, the program has grown to more than 70 brands representing more than 22,000 locations nationwide,” Hensley says.
Kids LiveWell was developed by the National Restaurant Association in collaboration with Healthy Dining, a group of registered dietitians who have worked closely with the restaurant industry for two decades. To join the program, restaurants agree to offer and promote a selection of items that meet strict nutrition criteria based on leading health organizations’ scientific recommendations, including the 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines.
Healthy Dining’s team of registered dietitians works with restaurants to identify and validate menu choices that meet Kids LiveWell criteria.Parents can find Kids LiveWell menu items at HealthyDiningFinder.com and while on-the-go at m.healthydiningfinder.com.