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Several Johannesburg restaurants, hotels and other eateries have responded positively to a call by Executive Mayor Councillor Parks Tau to introduce healthy meals in their menus.

These are offerings that are based only on health considerations, removing foodstuffs that contribute to weight gain.

Some of the restaurants that have come out in full support of the call, and which have promised to sign the Mayor’s Nutrition Pledge soon, include Hard Rock Cafe, Wimpy, Jimmy’s Killer Fish & Chips, Ankas, Ocean Basket, Ubuntu Kraal, Sakumzi, Chaf Pozi, Casa Portuguese Little Italy, Istanbul Kebab, Lapa La Rona Caterers, Thaba Ya Batswana and Vinis.

Booysens Hotel has also come to the party, as has the Johannesburg Theatres. Member of the Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development, Councillor Nonceba Molwele, will officially launch the Nutrition Pledge on the mayor's behalf at a public signing ceremony at No1 Fox Street, Ferrairas Town on Sunday, 7 December 2014.

The call for restaurants and other eateries to introduce healthy menus in their businesses came after a recent study by Statistics SA showed that about 40% of South Africans were overweight or obese.
Mayor Tau announced the pledge during his State of the City Address earlier this year. Essentially, the pledge encourages Johannesburg residents to change their eating habits and adopt a healthy lifestyle. It forms part of the City’s Healthy Lifestyle Programme, which encourages, among other things, the establishment of vegetable gardens by residents.

The City is also working with the School of Hospitality and Tourism at the University of Johannesburg to promote healthy eating.

The South African Chefs Association has also endorsed the programme. The Healthy Lifestyle Programme, of which the restaurant initiative is part, is aimed at encouraging residents, including the City’s employees, to engage in physical activities such as running and walking, and eating healthy to reduce the number of people suffering from chronic diseases and conditions such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and heart diseases.

This is expected to improve life expectancy in the City. The programme is in line with the City’s Growth and Development Strategy 2040 (GDS 2040), which states that by 2040 Johannesburg will have a healthy community free of chronic diseases.