Philadelphians pursue health and wellness in a variety of ways. Trends come and go as people try new things and officials implement new laws to help keep people fit. Here are a few things you might not know about efforts to keep city residents healthy.
1. At Yoga on the Steps, an annual event that occurs each spring on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum (above), people pay to attend an hour-long yoga class. All proceeds benefit the fight against breast cancer. Yoga on the Steps is the leading fundraising event for Living Beyond Breast Cancer, an organization that supports, educates and helps those with breast cancer. The class is taught by yoga studio owner Jennifer Schelter and features kirtan music. The goal of the event isn’t just providing yoga to the community, but also educating people about healthy living and raising money for LBBC’s education and support resources. The event also occurs in cities including Kansas City and Denver.
2. Starting in July, the use of electronic cigarettes will be banned everywhere indoors in Philadelphia. In April, Mayor Michael Nutter signed a bill that banned “vaping,” or the use vapor cigarettes, in indoor facilities. The bill also prohibits the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and legally treats electronic and vapor cigarettes the same as tobacco. Some of the places in which the use of electronic cigarettes is banned are movie theaters, hotels, stores, museums, food establishments and apartment buildings.
3. Philadelphia’s Menu Labeling Law forces food establishments with more than 15 locations nationwide to provide nutrition information on the food and drinks sold. The law applies to chain restaurants and mandates those places provide all nutrition information on menu boards such as total number of calories, grams of fat, grams of carbohydrates and milligrams of sodium. The information has to be in clear typeface so consumers can understand it, and each menu board must provide a statement from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration saying, “A 2,000 calorie diet is used as the basis for general nutrition advice; individual calorie needs, however, may vary.” Items not required to have nutrition information are custom orders, condiments and seasonal special items.
4. L.O.F.T., Local Organic Farm to Table, is a new restaurant located in the food court of the newly built Morgan Hall dormitory at Temple University. The restaurant is the first of its kind on campus, offering an array of options that include locally grown, organic produce at affordable prices. Located among 12 other restaurants in the food court such as Tony Luke’s, Auntie Anne’s and Wokstar, L.O.F.T. gives students a healthier option with wholesome ingredients both nourishing for the body and sustainable for the community.
5. Food Fit Philly partnered with The Food Trust to create the Healthy Corner Store Network, a program helping corner stores to provide nutritious options to people in urban areas. Participating stores have the Philadelphia Healthy Corner Store decal sticker on their windows, informing the public which stores are within the network and offer healthy options. According to Food Fit Philly’s website, every corner store in the healthy corner store network has introduced at least four new food options such as fresh produce, low-fat dairy and whole grain options.
– Text and images by Kelsey Kondraski and Shayna Kleinberg