A coalition of more than forty retailers, nonprofit organizations, and food and beverage manufacturers has announced the launch of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, a national effort designed to help reduce obesity — especially childhood obesity — across the nation by 2015.
To date, the Washington, D.C.-based coalition, which includes the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Coca-Cola Company, Girl Scouts of the USA, and the American Council for Fitness and Nutrition Foundation, has committed a total of $20 million to the initiative to raise awareness of the importance of balancing a healthy diet with physical activity, particularly among children between the ages of 6 and 11 and their parents and caregivers. To that end, the organization will promote the concept of energy balance — balancing calories consumed as part of a healthy diet with those expended by physical activity — in the places where people spend much of their time: to consumers in the marketplace; to children in schools, and to employees through workplace programs.
In the marketplace, companies will build on existing programs and make changes to their products, packaging, and labeling to make it easier for consumers to manage their calorie intake. Participating companies also will enhance or create programs to help employees achieve and maintain a healthy weight by providing calorie information and healthier food and beverage options in cafeterias, vending machines, and break rooms while also providing access to exercise and weight management programs at work. In schools, the foundation will expand the Healthy Schools Partnership to additional schools in Kansas City, Missouri; Des Moines, Iowa; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; and a tribal community in Iowa.
"The stakeholders involved in this commitment recognize that by working together we can make a real difference on the obesity issue in our country," said David Mackay, president and CEO of the Kellogg Company and chairman of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation. "We are united in an unprecedented, collaborative, and focused effort to help children and adults achieve better energy balance between calories in and calories out."