Friday, July 16, 2010

Say Goodbye to 1,000,000,000,000 Calories

One trillion is a very large number. And when you're talking about calories, one trillion calories is a lot! On a 2,000 calorie a day diet, it would take a person 500 million days, or more than one million years, to eat one trillion calories.

A consortium of food and beverage retailers, manufacturers, non-profit associations, and trade organizations, though, have joined together in an attempt to eliminate more than one trillion calories in the market. The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, or HWCF, will do so by creating healthier foods and snacks and encouraging physical activity. The goal is to curb obesity, especially in kids aged six to 11, by 2015.

The CEO-led effort will focus on three areas: connecting with consumers in the marketplace, empowering employees in the workplace, and creating healthy habits in schools. Members committed to the pledge include:According to the HWCF, these businesses "provide funding and support for programs and activities designed to help people achieve a healthy weight by balancing calories in and calories out." To date, the members have committed $20 million to the effort.

The organization's website states that the Foundation's "manufacturing companies will pursue their calorie reduction goal by developing and introducing lower-calorie options, changing recipes where possible to lower the calorie content of current products, or reducing portion sizes of existing single-serve products." To continue to meet consumers' needs for taste, convenience, and value, the member organizations will strive to add vital nutrients like fiber and whole grains and fruits and vegetables to the food supply. HWCF members have already launched a myriad of initiatives to control calories while preserving nutrition in the marketplace.

To promote better eating and more movement in schools across the country, the Foundation has already begun collaboration with associations like the American Council for Fitness and Nutrition Foundation, the American Dietetic Association Foundation, and Girl Scouts of the USA.

The HWCF will report annually to the Partnership for a Healthier America, an independent, non-partisan organization working to mobilize action around the specific goals of the Let's Move! campaign developed by First Lady Michelle Obama to curb child obesity within a generation. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, will also support a rigorous, independent evaluation of how the HWCF's efforts to reduce calories in the marketplace affect calories consumed by children and adolescents and publicly report its findings.

Personally, I am quite pleased that so many food and beverage consumer packaged goods companies have vowed to produce healthier foods by making them more wholesome and nutritious. These changes are sure to help us today as a nation, which in turn, will help generations in the future. What do you think? Leave a message below with your ideas and opinions on this topic.

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