National Restaurant Association president and CEO Dawn Sweeney was recognized by the Campaign to End Obesity for her work in helping inspire and guide the foodservice industry’s nutrition initiatives.

Sweeney, in recognition for her efforts, received the award at a Dec. 6 awards gala at Discovery Channel Worldwide headquarters in Silver Spring, Md.

“Dawn has been an enthusiastic and engaged leader in the fight to reverse America’s obesity epidemic,” says Stephanie Silverman, a founding director and senior advisor to the Campaign to End Obesity. “We applaud Dawn’s work encouraging and supporting restaurants’ innovative efforts to provide nutritious options for their customers.”

After joining the NRA in 2007, Sweeney established a healthy-living platform that allows restaurant operators to contribute to a more healthful America while fostering a healthy and thriving restaurant industry.

In 2011, the NRA, under Sweeney’s leadership, launched the Kids LiveWell initiative, a first-of-its kind, voluntary, industry-wide program that helps parents and children select healthful menu options when dining out. Participating restaurants commit to offer and promote healthful meals for children that focus on increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy, while limiting unhealthful fats, sugars, and sodium. The items meet strict nutrition criteria based on leading health organizations' scientific recommendations, including the 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines.

The program, established in collaboration with Healthy Dining’s team of registered dietitians, has since grown to include national, regional, and local restaurant brands representing more than 30,000 locations nationwide. Participating restaurants can be found in every state in the country and include quick-service restaurants and fast-casual concepts, as well as large restaurant companies and independent operators.

Sweeney is a charter member of Child Obesity 180; a unique multi-sector initiative of private, public, non-profit, and academic leaders who have made a commitment to assuring a leadership role in preventing childhood obesity through evidence-based initiatives. She also serves on the board of Save the Children.

The Campaign to End Obesity brings together leaders from across industry, academia and public health with policymakers and their advisors. The campaign provides the information and guidance that decision-makers need to make policy changes that will reverse one of the nation’s costliest and most prevalent diseases.

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