GAITHERSBURG, Md., July 15 As students return to school for the start of a new year, childhood obesity remains an issue that school nutrition leader Sodexo is taking steps to tackle.
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Sodexo, a leading food and facilities management services company, today is the first food service provider to sign on to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation's School Beverage and Competitive Food Guidelines. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, seeks to significantly reduce childhood obesity in the United States by 2015.
"Signing agreements with industry leaders is a critical piece of our plan to combat childhood obesity, a problem that affects one in three kids and teens in the U.S.," said former President Bill Clinton, founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation, who co-leads the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. "If we are going to create a healthier environment for today's youth, we need industry leaders like Sodexo to make commitments to provide access to healthier food options at school. In addition to our agreements with more than 35 companies in the food and beverage industries, we are pleased to welcome Sodexo as the first food service management company to sign the Alliance for a Healthier Generation's Competitive Food and School Beverage Guidelines."
The science-based Competitive Food and School Beverage Guidelines - established in 2006 by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation - were created to improve the nutritional quality of school snack foods and beverages, allowing more nutritious and less caloric options during the school day.
Sodexo will continue to offer a wide variety of healthy snacks and drinks including:
The agreement focuses on products sold to school children outside of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) school meal program on an a la carte basis--inclusive of products in the cafeteria, school store, snack carts, and vending machines in more than 470 U.S. school districts served by Sodexo.
As a result of the agreement, Sodexo will only offer age appropriate portion sizes that limit total calories. The company will also only supply snacks that have no more than 35 percent of their calories from total fat and 10 percent of calories from saturated fat. The approved snacks will contain no more than 35 percent sugar by weight and can have no more than 230 milligrams of sodium, nor can they contain trans fats.
"This agreement builds on Sodexo's ongoing commitment to student well-being," said Lorna Donatone, president of Sodexo School Services. "The Alliance for a Healthier Generation's Guidelines fit perfectly alongside our efforts in nutrition education, locally sourced produce and instilling a lifelong appreciation for good nutrition."
Sodexo currently serves more than 2.8 million school meals each day and provides a variety of healthy beverages and snack options as part of its commitment to student well-being.
"By increasing access to better food and beverages, in addition to physical activity, schools play a critical role in reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease among their students and staff." said Timothy J. Gardner, M.D., FAHA, president of the American Heart Association, and medical director for The Center for Heart & Vascular Health at Christiana care in DE. "I commend Sodexo for committing to providing its schools with healthier foods and beverages that are compliant with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation Guidelines, and I am glad that we will be working with them to really make a positive impact on the lives of those students and staff."
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation established the School Competitive Food and School Beverage Guidelines in 2006. More than 35 leading companies in the snack food, dairy, and beverage industries have voluntarily agreed to adhere to the Guidelines and provide children with better access to healthier foods and beverages at school. Since the introduction of the Guidelines, there has been a significant reduction in the calories shipped to schools; beverage calories alone have decreased by 58 percent from 2004 to 2008.
Sodexo, Inc. (www.sodexoUSA.com) is a leading integrated facilities management services company in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, with $7.7 billion (USD) in annual revenue and 120,000 employees. Sodexo serves more than ten million customers daily in corporations, health care, long term care and retirement centers, schools, college campuses, government, and remote sites. Sodexo, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., is a member of Sodexo Group, and funds all administrative costs for the Sodexo Foundation (www.sodexofoundation.org), an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $11 million in grants to fight hunger in America.
-- baked chips -- 100-Calorie snack packs -- low-fat yogurt -- mini rice cakes -- bottled water -- 100% fruit juice
SOURCE Sodexo, Inc.