THE BRONX - Local restaurants are teaming up to serve healthier food options to Bronx residents.

African Grills is among the more than 12 eateries inviting the public to free taste tests through October 5 in the annual Bronx Food Festival. Organizers are trying to help Bronx residents pick better meals when they're surrounded by plenty of fast-food chains.

"It's hard here to find romaine lettuce," a concerned resident said. "It's hard to find fresh produce."

According to the Health Department, obesity and diabetes rates in the Bronx are among the highest in the city.

Assemblyman Michael Benjamin believes that trend can be changed. "If you get the multigrain bread, it may be a few cents more, but look at the long-term cost of your health care ? not having to be hospitalized."

Related information:(212) 633-0800 ext. 1340Bronx Healthy Hearts