The Santee Health Network recently conducted a survey of a selection of fast food eateries in the heart of Santee which found that 75 percent don't "cater to healthy living."
To qualify as "catering to healthy living," 65 percent or more of foods on menu needed to be considered healthful. Foods that qualified as "healthful" indcluded salads, vegetables without dressing, whole wheat, grilled chicken, fruit, and similar alternatives to the usual fast food fare.
"Although the majority of eateries in this area did offer healthy alternatives, the healthy foods were definitely the minority, with six times the amount of advertising used on unhealthy food as healthful food," said Santee Health Network founder Steve Lauria.
The survey was based on a selection of 20 eateries along Mission Gorge Road between Carlton Hills Boulevard and Magnolia Avenue, not including sit-down restaurants. The eateries included chains and independent Mexican food shops, delis, Chinese, frozen yogurt, cafes, and more.
According to Lauria, examples of eateries that qualified at "catering to healthful living" included Jamba Juice and Subway.
The goal of the survey is to increase Santee residents’ access to healthy foods and awareness of food options around them.
At the fast food restaurants, volunteers examined the advertising displays and marketing practices, healthy options available and whether nutrition information was readily available.
"It seems the trend in Santee, as of late, is to promote the consumption of less than healthful foods," said Lauria.
Along the route that was surveyed, new fast food outlets opening include In-N-Out and Chick Fil A.
"I would like to see more healthy choices in Santee, which would enable folks to eat better and more conveniently," said Lauria.
Stats from the survey:
- 50 percent advertised healthy foods on the outside of the building, but only averaged 1.8 healthy foods compared to 10.8 unhealthful foods.
- 95 percent offered some sort of healthful food/drink options, 6 healthful food items compared to 26 unhealthful food options.
- 40 percent offered a healthful kids meal option.