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What is Certified Healthy Restaurant Program?

The Certified Healthy Restaurant program started in 2009 as an extension of the Certified Healthy Business program. The Certified Healthy Restaurant program recognizes single venues, local and national chain restaurants, and worksite venues that offer healthy options and tobacco free environments for their patrons and employees.

Why Does Certified Healthy Matter?

Becoming a Certified Healthy Restaurant means you are providing a healthy environment for your patrons and staff, as well as setting a standard of health for your community. By meeting most or all of the criteria to become Certified Healthy, Restaurants provide an established environment to foster healthy behaviors in the community and in the establishment. More people eat at restaurants now than in previous years. In 2012, 34% of meals were obtained outside of the home1. Ensuring healthy menu options and a healthy environment will contribute to a healthier community and state.

The State of Health in Oklahoma

Oklahoma currently ranks 47 out of 50 on America’s Health Rankings2. This is a decline from last year when Oklahoma was ranked 432. Out of all 50 states, this was the biggest decline in rankings from last year1. The decline can be attributed primarily to an 11% increase in the obesity rate, and a 14% increase in the physical inactivity rate2. Our poor health outcomes are hurting our families, finances, and future.

  • Premature deaths in the US overall have increased by 3% since last year from 7,214 to 7,432 years lost before age 75 per 100,000 population2. This is due to increasing deaths due to drugs, increases in suicides, and an uptick in occupational fatalities. In Oklahoma, 9,992 years are lost before age 75 per 100,000 population2. 
  • The leading cause of death in Oklahoma is heart disease, followed by cancer3. In fact, more than 1 in 4 Oklahoma deaths in 2017 were due to heart disease3. Cancer accounted for more than 1 in 5 Oklahoma deaths in 20173, and many cancer deaths are related to cigarette smoking4.
  • The third leading cause of death in Oklahoma is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In 2017, there were 3,035 deaths due to COPD in Oklahoma, accounting for 7.7% of deaths3.  Cigarette smoking is the main cause of COPD and secondhand smoke contributes to the disease, as well.5  
  • In 2017, Oklahoma had the 8th highest diabetes prevalence in the nation at 12.7%6. Type II diabetes accounts for 90% to 95% of all diabetes cases and obese and overweight adults are at increased risk for Type II diabetes7. In 2017, approximately 85% of Oklahomans with diabetes were also overweight or obese.8

Chronic disease is often preventable, but Oklahomans’ health behaviors are contributing to the state’s chronic disease morbidity and mortality. It is especially worth noting that three behaviors (poor diet, physical inactivity, and tobacco use) contribute to four chronic diseases (heart disease and stroke, cancer, diabetes, and lung disease) that cause approximately 60% of all deaths in Oklahoma.3

In 2017, just 54% of Oklahomans ate fruit one or more times per day8.  In addition, 17% of adults ate vegetables less than once per day8. In the same year, almost 71% of Oklahomans were either overweight or obese8. In 2017, more than 1 in 4 adults reported that they did not participate in leisure time physical activity during the past month8. In 2017, 1 in 5 adults were current smokers8. Unhealthy eating, a sedentary lifestyle, and tobacco use are a recipe for chronic disease. However, we can work together to improve behaviors and the health of Oklahomans. The change starts with YOU!

Restaurant employees and customers alike have the opportunity to begin their journey toward a healthier lifestyle-including moving more, eating better, and being tobacco-free through the Certified Healthy Program. Offering healthy menu items, providing physical activity breaks to employees, and showing no tolerance for any tobacco use on restaurant property are some of the options restaurants can try to help people develop a lifelong culture of health.


  1. United States Department of Agriculture. America’s Eating Habits: Food Away from Home. September 2018. Available at
  2. United Health Foundation. America’s Health Ranking 2018 Annual Report. Available at
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: National Center for Health Statistics. Underlying Cause of Death 1999-2017 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released December 2018. Data are from the Multiple Cause of Death Files, 1999-2017, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Available at
  4. Lortet-Tieulent J, Goding Sauer A, Siegel RL, Miller KD, Islami F, Fedewa SA, Jacobs EJ, Jemal A. State-Level Cancer Mortality Attributable to Cigarette Smoking in the United States. JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(12):1792-1798. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.6530
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking and COPD. Available at
  6. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The State of Obesity. Available at
  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2017. Available at
  8. Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), Center for Health Statistics, Health Care Information, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System 2017, on Oklahoma Statistics on Health Available for Everyone (OK2SHARE). Available at