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Has Michelle Obama Given up on Reducing Sugar in Kids’ Diets?

7 Dec

Dr. Marion Nestle asked a couple of days ago on her blog, has the Let’s Move Campaign given up on healthy diets for kids? While I share Dr. Nestle’s concerns, I don’t want us to forget about the Partnership for a Healthier America which was “created in conjunction with – but independent from – Let’s Move!

It  is the “Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation”  that has promised Mrs. Obama  in a signed agreement with the Partnership for a Healthier America  to reduce 1 trillion calories in their products by 2012, and 1.5 trillion calories in their products by 2015. The HWCF is a coalition “that brings together more than 80 retailers, food and beverage manufacturers, sporting goods and insurance companies, trade associations and NGOs”

Let’s Move is the physical activity tool in the toolbox of the Partnership for a Healthier America, while the HWCF is working on healthy diets.

When the HWCF announcement was made in 2010, Mrs. Obama shared the stage with David Mackay,  who was the President and CEO of Kellogg’s and Chair of the HWCF at the time.

I counted the number of times they both referred to reducing sugar intake.

Mrs. Obama – 7

Mr. Mackay – 0

Still, a look at the HWCF website member page, where members can link to their plans to reduce calories in their products, Coca-Cola, for one, appears to be living up to what was promised in the video with their “Live Positively” initiative which can be summed up in three main points:

  • Tiny coke cans.
  • More reduced calorie products.
  • Clear calorie labeling on the front of products.
Though what I’m not clear on is what this means for the overall Coca-Cola product portfolio. Are sales of regular Coca-Cola the same, and now even more people are drinking sugar-sweetened beverages, albeit less sweet?

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has committed to supporting an independent group of scientists who will define the measures that will be used to track progress and determine whether “the program is making a significant difference for our Nation’s children.” The HWCF has committed to an annual progress report to the Partnership.

This is what we should be watching for.

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