Posting calorie counts?is great for consumers

McDonald's, the nation's bastion for fast food, super-sizing and meals on the run, recently announced that it will post calories for all items on both menu boards and drive-through menus.

As the region's leading health plan, we applaud the McDonald's action. The calorie postings will help all of us make informed decisions. Beyond the obvious increased awareness about nutrition and daily recommended calorie intake, there is another potential positive outcome from this action.

Going forward, we will know that we can choose lower-calorie, even "healthier" food at McDonald's. Oatmeal for breakfast, a salad with low-calorie dressing for lunch, sliced apples (15 calories) instead of fries (230 calories) for the Happy Meal, a grilled sandwich without cheese or fat-heavy dressings and sauce are all viable options. In addition, those tempting sugar-laden fruit and chocolate beverages all come in small, medium or large, and hopefully more of us will now downsize our beverage of choice, and save hundreds of calories while doing so.

Fast food is a way of life. But it doesn't mean that we have to surrender our health. And if we start choosing healthier options, the restaurants will have good reason to make more selections available.

At BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, our mantra has become "healthy changes everything." This isn't just a slogan, it's our inspirational call for each of us to take and make small steps to healthy.

Researchers state that if we don't change our lifestyle, a child born today will be part of the first generation in U.S. history to have a shorter lifespan than the previous generation. This is 100 percent preventable through our own actions and lifestyle choices.

Gretchen Fierle

Vice President, CCO

BlueCross BlueShield of WNY