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In a National Restaurant Association survey of chefs, two-thirds of those working in the kitchens of family dining, fine dining and fast-food restaurants said their customers were ordering healthier items and paying more attention to nutritional content than they did two years ago.
Similarly, chefs ranked healthful children's meals as the fourth-hottest restaurant trend, behind locally grown and sustainable foods.
The government soon will begin requiring restaurants with 20 or more locations, along with bakeries, grocery stores, convenience stores and coffee chains, to include clear calorie counts on their menus.
Mrs. Obama participation in Thursday's announcement, scheduled for an Olive Garden restaurant in the Washington suburb of Hyattsville, Md., will be her latest appearance with retailers and others in support of her anti-obesity efforts.
In January, she stood with Wal-Mart, the nation's largest grocer, as it pledged to reformulate thousands of products it sells to make them healthier and to push suppliers to do the same.
This summer, the first lady applauded as Wal-Mart, Walgreens drug stores and several regional grocers committed to help eliminate "food deserts" by opening or expanding in rural and urban areas without easy access to healthy foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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