Sodexo President and CEO George Chavel joins Partnership for a Healthier America Board Chair James R. Gavin III, MD, PhD to announce the company's new commitments aimed at fighting childhood obesity at the 2014 Building a Healthier Future Summit in Washington. (PRNewsFoto/Sodexo)
Sodexo joined the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) to announce new commitments to battle the obesity epidemic. In the lead announcement delivered at PHA's Building a Healthier Future Summit, Sodexo committed to engaging and motivating consumers toward healthy choices by widely deploying Mindful, its healthy dining program; expanding healthier food choices in hospitals; offering more free breakfast meals in schools; and increasing the selection of healthier, more nutritious options in its vending and K-12 lunchroom programs.
"Research shows how chronic illness impedes academic performance and achievement in our children, but their wellness and opportunities for success are not the only things that suffer," said George Chavel, president and CEO, Sodexo, in a prepared statement. "It reduces our global competitiveness, it threatens our military readiness and with a projected $6 trillion in health care costs to treat the chronically ill, obesity is certainly no friend to our economy. Through our work with PHA and our innovative wellness programs, we want to help make healthy choices second nature."
Sodexo's PHA Commitment includes six specific actions:
- Implement a healthy dining program in 95 percent of food service accounts in key markets by 2017. The Mindful Healthy Dining Program, which offers a variety of foods that balance nutrition with enticing flavors, will be put in place in Sodexo's foodservice accounts that serve the patrons of cafes in industry, government and campus settings.
- Provide at least 30 percent healthier options in 45 percent of vending accounts by 2018.
- Implement a smarter lunchroom program in 90 percent of K-12 accounts by 2016. Sodexo will use research-based principles recommended in the Smarter Lunchroom Movement - developed by the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs - to equip primary and secondary school lunchrooms with tools to improve the eating behaviors of children.
- Serve an additional 17 million free breakfast meals in schools by 2018 in its primary and secondary school accounts.
- Implement a healthier children's meal - default fruit or vegetable side and default water or low-fat milk beverage - in 40 percent of food service accounts at cultural destinations by 2015. These locations include places like aquariums, museums, ballparks and other recreational venues where Sodexo manages food service.
Implement the PHA Hospital Healthy Food Initiative in 20 percent of accounts by 2018.