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Thursday, January 20, 2011

First Lady Teams Up With Walmart For Healthy, Affordable Food

Our fabulous First Lady shows no signs of slowing down this week.

After hosting Chinese president,  Hu Jintao at the second State Dinner of her husband, President Barack Obama; speaking to students at Howard University about studying abroad in China; and surprising tour groups during the visit to the White House, the First Lady, in partnership with Walmart, announced the company’s Nutrition Charter initiative, a groundbreaking new initiative designed to help families across America put healthier, more affordable food on their tables.  

"We can do this", said the First Lady who admitted she had doubts when she first launched her Let's Move campaign designed to rid childhood obesity in U.S. children. 

With a conglomerate like Walmart behind her, Mrs. Obama's initiative is even more realized.

"When I see a company like Walmart launch an initiative like this, I feel more hopeful than ever before that the answer to these questions is yes", said the First Lady speaking at THEARC recreation center in Southeast, DC. "Efforts like this show us that yes, we can improve how we make and sell food in this country – and what we feed our kids.  Yes, we can give parents better information so they can make better decisions for their families."\

Walmart’s Nutrition Charter consists of three major pillars aimed to impact the health and well being of  families by making critical changes to accessible and affordable food: 

1) Reformulating thousands, of everyday packaged food items by 2015 by reducing sodium 25 percent and added sugars 10 percent, and by removing all remaining industrial produced trans fats;

2) Reducing the cost of fruits and vegetables and the healthier options.   

3) Developing a healthy seal that will make it easier for customers to identify health products and quickly make a healthy choice.  

“We have enormous respect and admiration for the First Lady’s leadership on this important issue. She was a catalyst that helped make today’s announcement a reality and her spirit of collaboration made our commitment to bring better nutrition to kitchen tables across this country even stronger,” said Leslie Dach, Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs, WalMart.

Walmart plans stores in the areas of Wards 4, 5, 6, 7 in Washington, DC, areas that have a heavy concentration of fast food chains including Chinese restaurants that serve mainly fatty, unhealthy food items. 
Partnership for a Healthier America will be working with Walmart to evaluate and monitor their progress with these efforts.

(Commentary: It is quite ironic that Walmart and the First Lady make this announcement on the heels of the Chinese president's visit to the Nation's Capital. This news centers around a conversation I had with a media member where I stated if I had the chance to ask President Hu a question, it would be why are there so many Chinese restaurants and grocery stores in predominately African American neighborhoods that sell such poor quality food.  Luckily our First Lady is on the case.   My next hope would be that she tackles the food being served in our country's hospitals and nursing homes.  Have you seen the menu lately? It could use some work.  A major overhaul even.)

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