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Bill Would Require Restaurants to Give Calorie Counts on Menus

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State Rep. Ed Homan, R-Tampa

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Tallahassee, FL – A trio of Republican lawmakers is backing a bill that would require restaurants to provide the calorie count of their menu items. Their purpose: to combat obesity. Margie Menzel reports.

Representative Ed Homan of Tampa is a sponsor of the Obesity Prevention Act. An osteopathic surgeon, Homan said 60 percent of Americans are overweight, and they're not the only ones paying the cost of their care.

"Forty-six percent of all insurance now is paid by taxpayers, either through Medicaid, Medicare, Department of Defense, the Veterans Administration," he said. "So the taxpayers are paying for the privilege of all of us to be heavy and out of shape. If it's not that, then you're paying a premium to an insurance company that also cares for everybody to be overweight. So basically, the cost of obesity is shared by everybody."

Senator Stephen Wise of Jacksonville is the Senate sponsor. Carol Dover, president and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, says the group is working to provide a national solution and avoid unnecessary regulation at the state level.