WASHINGTON, May 19, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, at the Partnership for America's (PHA) fifth annual Building a Healthier Future Summit, Westin Hotels, MARS Food U.S, Outdoor Industry Association with the Outdoor Foundation, Blue Goji, and Homeowner's Rehab, Inc. all announced commitments to help make the healthy choice the easy choice for families in the United States.
PHA works with its honorary chair First Lady Michelle Obama and the private sector to create solutions to end the childhood obesity crisis. As a demonstration of PHA's reach and scale, in addition to the organizations above, today six college campuses joined PHA's Healthier Campus Initiative, the FNV campaign announced 11 new partners and several new commitments were made to improve healthier options at convenience stores.
"The magnitude of companies standing on stage to partner with us today is an indication that companies are, now more than ever, eager and excited about bringing Americans the healthier options they are looking for," said PHA CEO Lawrence A. Soler. "PHA is proud to see new partners with ambitious commitments, proud of its current partners who have made great progress and proud of the immense impact we have collectively made to support a healthier America."
Westin, which is owned by Starwood Hotels and Resorts, is committed to implementing nutrition guidelines for their "Eat Well Menu for Kids" children menu, available at all of their 200+ locations worldwide. Guidelines include limitations around the amount of calories, fat, sodium and added sugars and must include foods like lean protein, whole grains, low-fat or nonfat dairy, vegetables and fruit. Beverages that contain artificial colors or sweeteners are also not featured on these menus. Developed in collaboration with the doctors, dentists, dieticians and chefs at SuperChefs™, the Eat Well Menu for Kids provides a sense of discovery while imparting the value of healthy eating on their youngest guests.
Outdoor Industry Association and Outdoor Foundation are proud to join PHA in its commitment to support healthy kids and communities. They will provide opportunities for at least 100,000 children to get outdoors and active, particularly at our nation's parks in the National Park Service's centennial year. The association and foundation will build a web-based platform that allows nonprofit programs and schools across the country to find funding to get children active outdoors.
Through its Uncle Ben's® and Seeds of Change® brands, MARS Food U.S., one of the nation's top food companies, has joined PHA to offer healthier foods to consumers, provide access to nutrition information, as well as create opportunities for its associates to improve their personal wellbeing. Specifically, by 2021, MARS Food U.S. will improve the nutritional quality across its product portfolio, including reducing sodium and added sugars, increasing vegetable servings, increasing whole grains, and updating its nutrition criteria to reflect 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. MARS Food U.S. will also provide consumers with more nutrition information through on-pack guidance and website content, and encourage consumers to cook healthy meals with friends and family. MARS Food U.S. will also support the FNV campaign financially and through communications efforts.
Blue Goji, a game system dedicated to making fitness fun for everyone, has committed to creating engaging physical activity opportunities for kids to help solve the childhood obesity crisis. The company will work with undergraduate students at the University of California at Berkeley, bringing together students in the School of Public Health with students in the School of Engineering to develop a health, wellness and learning program for young children in underserved communities. Local organizations in California will be identified to pilot the program in low-income areas using donated Blue Goji exercise equipment, tablets and apps. The company will use learnings from the program and pilot to introduce a new physical activity and fitness game to the marketplace. Blue Goji will also partner with community-based organizations in low-income areas to donate resources that will help keep kids active, while providing education on health and wellness.
Homeowner's Rehab, Inc. (HRI), which provides affordable housing in Cambridge, MA, has partnered with PHA to help build healthier futures for families. Over the next five years, HRI's affordable housing projects will implement PHA's guidelines for an environment that fosters healthy lifestyles. HRI will provide access to physical activity spaces, wider sidewalks, walking routes and appealing stairwells, and promote healthy eating, walking and biking. HRI's commitment will provide opportunities for its residents to be healthier – right in their own homes.
Six new schools – Grand Valley State University, Fort Lewis College, University of Houston, SUNY Cortland, Emporia State University and Liberty University – are proud to join PHA's Healthier Campus Initiative to provide environments that support healthy habits for students. These universities and colleges will adopt PHA's guidelines around food and nutrition, physical activity and programming, joining 38 other college campuses in the initiative, which now spans across 29 states which reaches 1.2 million students, faculty and staff.
McLane Company, Inc., the largest food and beverage distributor to convenience stores in the U.S., and Esstar, a natural food sales, marketing and distribution company, are teaming up with PHA to ensure that convenience stores across the nation are fully stocked with healthier options. Through its commitment, McLane Company will ensure fresh produce is made available to each one of the 90,000 locations it serves. The company will also be launching twelve new private label products that meet PHA's Healthier Product Criteria, including private label bottled water that will feature the Drink Up droplet on bottle labels. Additionally, McLane will clearly identify all products offered that meet PHA's Healthier Product Criteria, as well as broker pricing deals, in an effort to incentivize its customers to make the healthy choice when stocking their stores. Meanwhile, Esstar is ensuring that 75 percent of all the products they distribute and merchandize in their end-caps found in about 100 Tennessee retail locations meet PHA's healthier product criteria and that in their check-out displays that will roll out in Twice Daily stores throughout the state, at least 10 products will meet those same strict guidelines.
Enmarket convenience stores have also joined PHA to make healthy eating on the go easier, and to provide access to nutritious options in every community. The company's commitment includes increasing the number of healthier products offered including fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat and nonfat dairy, promoting healthier offerings and supporting affordability of healthier foods. This commitment expands upon the more than 1,000 convenience stores across the country that have already partnered with PHA to enhance accessibility to healthy foods.
The FNV campaign, led by PHA and a number of companies, celebrities, athletes and foundations to shift attitudes about fruits and veggies with an eye toward increased consumption, is proud to add 11 partners – Lamar Advertising, Whistle Sports, Ocean Spray Craisins®, BCBS of North Carolina, Trinity Health System, The University of Wisconsin SNAP Ed, Enmark Stations, McLane Company, Inc., Green City Growers, Hidden Valley and Uncle Ben's®. The new partners will support FNV through promotional and marketing activities, co-branding efforts and financial contributions.
About Partnership for a Healthier America
The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) is devoted to working with the private sector to ensure the health of our nation's youth by solving the childhood obesity crisis. In 2010, PHA was created in conjunction with—but independent from—First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! effort. PHA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that is led by some of the nation's most respected health and childhood obesity experts. PHA brings together public, private and nonprofit leaders to broker meaningful commitments and develop strategies to end childhood obesity. Most important, PHA ensures that commitments made are commitments kept by working with unbiased third parties to monitor and publicly report on the progress our partners are making. For more information about PHA, please visit www.ahealthieramerica.org and follow PHA on Twitter @PHAnews.
SOURCE Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA)