El Pollo Loco Inc. underscored its commitment to healthy lifestyle choices yesterday at Governor Schwarzeneggar’s Summit on Health, Nutrition and Obesity in Sacramento.

The Governor called upon El Pollo Loco to join First Lady Maria Shriver, select CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and leading experts in the areas of public health, transportation, and education to lead the state in promoting a healthier California.

In addition, El Pollo Loco was recognized as a member of the Summit Honor Roll, whose members are swiftly implementing new and innovative initiatives in response to California’s health crisis with leadership, vision and commitment to the health of Californians.

Among initiatives announced at the summit were El Pollo Loco’s commitment to serve trans fat-free tortillas; the October launch of a new low-fat, low-calorie Chicken Tortilla Soup; the company’s continued commitment to creating fresh, healthful menu items that don’t sacrifice flavor; and the introduction of new communication tools to make it easier for consumers to identify healthy menu items in its restaurants.

California, like much of America, faces an obesity epidemic that represents a public health challenge. Poor diet and physical inactivity are the second-leading causes of death and disability, resulting in nearly 30,000 deaths each year. The prevalence of overweight Californians has increased from 38 percent in 1984 to 57 percent in 2003. Experts predict that if the current trend continues, this will be the first generation of Americans with a shorter life span than their parents.

El Pollo Loco is committed to helping Californians address this health challenge. The company recently unveiled an interactive nutrition calculator on its Web site, www.elpolloloco.com, to provide consumers the opportunity to customize menu items to fit their lifestyle. Users can add or delete ingredients to achieve desired nutritional values.

El Pollo Loco also has alliances with Healthy Dining, a team of nutrition professionals that identifies healthy menu items for California consumers, and Lindora, California’s No. 1 medical weight control program. El Pollo Loco is the only restaurant chain to receive Lindora’s Lean for Life Certified stamp of approval, which guides the public in making healthy food choices.

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