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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

First Lady Announces Partnership With A Healthier America; For A Healthier America

Efforts Should Help Close Food 'Energy Gap'

The First Lady with Dr. James Gavin III, HWCF chairman (left),
with David Mackay, chair of the Healthy Weight Commitment. Photo/CD Brown. 

First Lady Michelle Obama's campaign to get Americans healthier continues to gain momemtum, and support.

Today, Mrs. Obama joined forces with A Partnership For A Healthier America and The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation in an effort that will focus on reducing 1.5 trillion product calories by the end of 2015.

In a press release Mrs. Obama said, "Solving the obesity epidemic requires far more than anything government can do alone and today's announcement represents an important step forward to providing Americans with healthier choices so that they can choose to lead healthier lives."

Last week, the First Lady, along Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes unveiled the findings of the her Let's Move! task force.

The First Lady With HWCF's David Mackay

"Between what’s in our food and how much of it that we eat, Americans consume more calories, fat and sugar today than ever before. Compared to 40 years ago, we consume 23 percent more calories, 56 percent more added fats and oils and dairy fat, and 14 percent more sugar and sweetener. Now, that's 12 extra pounds of sugar a year just in 40 years", said Obama, making the remarks in front of a small crowd at the White House Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

Through the partnership with HWCF and A Partnership For A Healthier America many food manufacturers will pursue calorie reduction goals by growing and introducing lower-calorie options; changing product recipes to lower calorie content of their current products, and reducing their portion sizes.


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"America's food and beverage companies have a strong track record of innovation and providing consumers with healthier products", said HWCF executive director Lisa Gable. 

It is unclear (at least for now) what 'new products' will be introduced, or how manufacturers plan to decrease the caloric and sugar content of their products.

Americans consume more calories than they expend, which nutritionist refer to as the 'energy gap', a term used to estimate the degree of change in the energy balance point required for success in achieving weight loss, gain or management.

The energy gap concept is especially relevant when addressing prevention of excessive weight gain and maintenance of weight loss.

Manufacturers participating with the HWCF initiative include Campbell Soup Company, ConAgra Foods, General Mills, Inc., Kellogg Company, Mars, Incorporated, Nestle USA, and PepsiCo, Inc., companies that provide more than twenty percent of America's food supply.

The complete list of participating food manufacturers can be found here.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will serve as an independent evaluator as these companies work towards their goals. The Partnership for a Healthier America will hold the participating companies accountable for meeting the 2015 goal.

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