Food companies pledge sharp calorie cuts

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation today reached agreement with the Partnership for a Healthier America to reduce 1.5 trillion calories by the end of 2015 from levels reported in 2008.

As part of the pledge, the H.W.C.F. said its member companies, including Kellogg Co., Kraft Foods Inc., Nestle USA, Sara Lee Corp. and The Coca-Cola Co., among others, will develop and introduce lower-calorie options, change recipes where possible to lower calorie content of current products, or reduce portion sizes of existing single-serve products.

“The First Lady has shown tremendous leadership in calling for national action to end childhood obesity,” said David Mackay, chairman of the H.W.C.F. and chief executive officer of Kellogg. “Through this effort, the companies that make up the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation will provide consumers with additional healthier food options that help them achieve and maintain a healthy diet.”

Under terms of the agreement, the H.W.C.F. said it will report annually to the Partnership for a Healthier America on its progress. The Foundation also will work with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (R.W.J.F.), which will conduct an 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. has had extensive conversations with the leadership of H.W.C.F., and we’re confident their commitment to this cause is sincere and measurable — and thus has real potential for impact,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A. and president and c.e.o. of the R.W.J.F.

Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey continued, “R.W.J.F. applauds H.W.C.F. and its member companies for stepping forward to be part of the solution to the childhood obesity epidemic. We encourage other companies to change their products and marketing practices to help reverse the epidemic and ensure that America’s children live healthy lives.”

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