Dietitians Grade Newark as Healthiest Airport, Atlanta Remains at Bottom of List
San Francisco Slides in Rankings; Chicago Makes Big Gain
WASHINGTON—The nearly 25 million travelers passing through airports this holiday season can find a healthful meal in most terminals: 76 percent of restaurants in 18 of the nation’s busiest airports offer at least one low-fat, cholesterol-free, vegetarian meal, according to a new report from the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). But healthful food choices are harder to find this year at some airports, including Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Los Angeles International.
The number of airport restaurants offering healthful foods has increased from 2001, when PCRM’s inaugural airport food review found just 57 percent of airport eateries offering at least one healthful option. Newark Liberty International Airport ranks at the top of the 2012 report for the first time with a score of 92 percent. It’s a dramatic improvement from 2003, when just 60 percent of its restaurants offered a healthful option.
“Healthful vegetarian meals at airports across the country are just the ticket for traveling light this holiday season,” says PCRM director of nutrition education Susan Levin, M.S., R.D. “But some airports still serve too many greasy cheeseburgers and slices of pepperoni pizza that leave passengers feeling grounded.”
Chicago O’Hare International Airport makes the most impressive gain, with a 13-point increase in the number of restaurants offering a healthy option. Las Vegas made an 8-point improvement over last year. San Francisco International Airport was the biggest loser, with a 19-point decrease from last year’s score. Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson lost 13 points this year and remains in last place with a score of 58 percent.
||Healthful Restaurants/Total Restaurants
|1. Newark Liberty International Airport
|2. Las Vegas McCarran International Airport
|3. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
|4. Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport
|5. (tie) Chicago O’Hare International Airport
|5. (tie) Miami International Airport
|6. (tie) Orlando International Airport
|6. (tie) Washington Dulles International Airport
|6. (tie) Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
|7. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
|8. (tie) Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
|8. (tie) Charlotte Douglas International Airport
|9. (tie) San Francisco International Airport
|9. (tie) Denver International Airport
|10. (tie) Los Angeles International Airport
|10. (tie) Baltimore/Washington International Airport
|11. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
|12. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
PCRM dietitians surveyed restaurant meals at 18 major airports in more than a dozen states for the report. They gave each restaurant a point if its menu included at least one low-fat, high-fiber, cholesterol-free vegetarian entrée. The final percentage score was derived by dividing the airport's number of restaurants serving health-conscious fare by its total number of restaurants.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research,and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.
Susan Levin, M.S., R.D.
2012 Airport Food Review
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