PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – We’ve heard it before: obesity is a national epidemic. But what to do, with a population that relies on burgers and fries?

“The purpose of ‘Live Well Restaurants’ was, more than anything, to make customers aware of healthy choices,” Dr. Karen Hacker announced, at a news conference hosted by Bridges Restaurant in Oakland. The Allegheny County Health Director says restaurants must first eliminate trans fat oils and tobacco products, if they wish to qualify. They must also offer healthy alternatives.

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“We’d like to see restaurants be able to be transparent in what they’re offering folks,” Dr. Hacker said, “so that if you are interested, maybe you’re not, but if you are interested in eating a healthy diet, and you do like to eat out, you can actually know what’s in there, and what you can choose,” Hacker said.

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Wyndham sales director Patricia Iannotta says if you’re afraid of overeating, “You can have a half price portion of either of the selected salads, or the select sandwiches on the menu.”

In addition to Bridges, only four other eating establishments in the county have earned the “Living Well” distinction. All of them are UPMC cafeterias. Magee Hospital has three gardens on site, producing a ton of fresh herbs and produce every year.

“Literally, the chefs go to the gardens, pick, wash, cut, and then it gets served in our salad bar to our patients and our visitors and our staff,” said food and nutrition director Chris Vitas.

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Restaurants are invited to visit http://www.livewellallegheny.com to apply for “Live Well” certification.