Walmart Joins Let's Move!
First Lady announces Walmart's plans for healthier foods
Ripe red tomatoes, brightly colored peppers, tangerines, and apples provided the backdrop for First Lady Michelle Obama's announcement of a joint venture with Walmart recently. The announcement came at an event in Washington, D.C., earlier this year.
Walmart joined the Let's Move! initiative to fight childhood obesity by improving its food selections in its stores. The corporate giant announced a five-year plan to lower salts, fats, and sugars in thousands of its products and dropping prices for healthy items.
"We got this idea from our customers when someone asked why the whole grain pasta (the healthier one) was more expensive than the regular pasta from the same manufacturer," said Bill Simon, President and CEO of Walmart U.S. "No family should have to choose between food that is healthier for them and food they can afford."
Walmart pledges five key promises to make its stores a healthier place to shop:
— Reformulate thousands of everyday packaged food items by 2015;
— Save customers $1 billion every year on fresh fruits and vegetables;
— Develop better front-of–package seals;
— Build stores in areas where it is hard to find good food to buy;
— And increase charitable support for nutrition programs.
The First Lady admitted that she was at first hesitant to take on an issue as complicated as childhood obesity.
"But today, when I see a company like Walmart doing this, I feel more hopeful than ever before," she said.
During a question and answer session, this reporter asked for examples of which foods would be reformulated.
"We're looking at things that our customers eat a lot of, like salad dressing, lunch meats, yogurts, box dinners, frozen foods," Thomas said. "When you're eating them you're expecting them to be healthy, but if you look on the package, you'll be surprised about how much added sugar or how much sodium is in it. That's where we really want to start."
Mrs. Obama offered some words of encouragement to everyone at the event.
"We have the tools of our disposal," she said. "All we need is the motivation, the opportunity and the willpower to do what needs to be done."
Kid Reporters have been following the First Lady's Let's Move! initiative for more than a year now. Check out their stories in the Let's Move! Special Report!
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