Food companies commit to drastic calorie cuts

by Bryan Salvage
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WASHINGTON – The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (H.W.C.F.) has pledged to reduce 1.5 trillion calories by the end of 2015, a decrease its food and beverage manufacturing member companies intend to sustain in subsequent years. H.W.C.F. member companies said they plan to meet 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.

These calorie reductions are in comparison with what was available in the marketplace in 2008. H.W.C.F. manufacturer members include Campbell Soup Company, ConAgra Foods, Kraft Foods and Sara Lee Corp., among others.

The Partnership for a Healthier America, for which First Lady Michele Obama serves as honorary chair, is an independent, non-partisan organization working to mobilize action around the specific goals of the Let's Move! campaign to curb child obesity within one generation.

The H.W.C.F. is working to promote ways to help Americans achieve healthy weight by balancing the calories they consume with the energy they expend through physical activity. Many Americans are currently consuming more calories than they expend. Many nutrition and health experts call this imbalance the "energy gap."

Under terms of the agreement, the H.W.C.F. will report annually to the Partnership on the progress it is making toward this pledge. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (R.W.J.F.), the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, also will support a rigorous, independent evaluation of how the H.W.C.F.’s efforts to reduce calories in the marketplace affect calories consumed by children and adolescents. R.W.J.F. will publicly report its findings.

H.W.C.F. member companies said they are taking other steps to enhance the products in their portfolios – including adding fiber, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and increasing the number of convenient and healthier options in the food supply.

The Partnership for a Healthier America is working to increase awareness and mobilize the private sector, foundations, thought leaders, media and communities around the effort to curb child obesity within a generation. To learn more about the Partnership, visit www.aHealthierAmerica.org.

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