Dietitians Pick Detroit as Healthiest Airport, but Atlanta, Washington Fall Behind

The Physicians Committee
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NEWS RELEASE November 23, 2010
Dietitians Pick Detroit as Healthiest Airport, but Atlanta, Washington Fall Behind
Susan Levin, M.S., R.D.

Decade of Data Shows Dramatic Increase in Low-Fat Vegetarian Options at Airport Restaurants, but Report Finds Some Terminals Still Clogged with Greasy Food

WASHINGTON—Hungry travelers can find heart-healthy food in most airport terminals this holiday season, with 82 percent of restaurants in the nation’s busiest airports now offering at least one low-fat, cholesterol-free meal, according to a new report from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).

That’s a steep increase from a decade ago, when PCRM’s inaugural airport food review found just 57 percent of airport eateries offering at least one healthful option. But nutritious choices are harder to locate in some of the biggest U.S. airports, including Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Chicago O’Hare International, and Ronald Reagan Washington National, which are clogged with restaurants serving cheeseburgers, pizza, and other high-fat fare.

“Many airport restaurants are flying high on healthy food,” says PCRM nutrition education director Susan Levin, M.S., R.D. “We’ve seen a dramatic rise in healthy food offerings over the survey’s 10 years, and that reflects a growing demand for low-fat meatless options. But there’s still plenty of room for improvement at some airports.”

PCRM dietitians surveyed restaurant meals at 18 major airports in more than a dozen states for the report. Detroit’s Wayne County Airport took top honors, with 96 percent of its restaurants offering at least one healthy option—a big improvement since 2001 when just 33 percent of the airport’s restaurants offered a healthy meal. San Francisco International Airport ranked second with a score of 95 percent, and Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport tied for third with Newark Liberty International.

PCRM dietitians 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.

Airport

Score

Healthful Restaurants/Total Restaurants

1. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport

96%

52/54

2. San Francisco International Airport

95%

60/63

3. (tie) Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport

90%

54/60

3. (tie) Newark Liberty International Airport

90%

44/49

4. Washington Dulles International Airport

89%

32/36

5. Denver International Airport

88%

50/57

6. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

85%

56/66

7. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

84%

80/95

8. (tie) Los Angeles International Airport

81%

46/57

8. (tie) Miami International Airport

81%

56/69

9. (tie) Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

80%

48/60

9. (tie) Orlando International Airport

80%

32/40

10. Baltimore/Washington International Airport

79%

31/39

11. Las Vegas McCarran International Airport

77%

47/61

12. Charlotte Douglas International Airport

72%

33/46

13. O’Hare International Airport

71%

70/99

14. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

70%

62/89

15. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

67%

22/33

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.

Media Contact:
Vaishali Honawar
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