NEW YORK -- The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, collaborated with five large food manufacturers to help combat childhood obesity in America. Campbell Soup Company, Dannon, Kraft Foods, Mars and PepsiCo joined with the Alliance to establish first-ever voluntary guidelines for snacks and side items sold in schools that will provide healthier food choices for children.
The new guidelines, which were developed in conjunction with nutrition experts at the American Heart Association, will apply to foods offered for sale in schools outside of the National School Lunch Program to students before, during and after the school day. The guidelines cover foods and snacks, desserts, side items and treats sold throughout schools, including school vending machines, a la carte lines, school stores, snack carts and fundraisers. The five food manufacturers will invest in product reformulation and new product development, while encouraging broader support of the guidelines.
"Ensuring that children have healthier food choices at school is another critical step in the fight against childhood obesity," says President Clinton. "I'm proud of these five companies for making an important statement about this health challenge and an even more important commitment to doing something about it. What we are setting in motion with these guidelines will dramatically change the kind of food that children have access to at school. It will take time, but through coalitions like this of industry and the non-profit sector, we are going to make a real difference in the lives of millions of children by helping them eat healthier and live healthier."
The guidelines will provide kids with food and snack products that are lower in calories, reinforcing the nutrition lessons they learn at home and in the classroom about healthy, balanced diets. Notably, the guidelines promote the consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nutrient-rich foods, fat-free and low fat dairy foods, and place limits on calories, fat, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar and sodium. These foods cover a wide range of choices, including everything from chips to chocolate, crackers to cookies, candy, ice cream, granola bars, nuts, soup and yogurt.
"Kids across America will benefit from today's agreement," says Raymond Gibbons, American Heart Association president. "Our goal is to point kids to foods that are healthier and that will contribute to a healthier lifestyle overall. By working with schools and industry to implement these guidelines, we are helping to give parents peace of mind that their kids will be able to make healthier choices at school."