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National Restaurant Association - NRA applauds Sodexo on child nutrition commitment

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NRA applauds Sodexo on child nutrition commitment

The National Restaurant Association applauded contract foodservice provider Sodexo for its commitment to help end childhood obesity by offering more healthful menu and vending options at its K-12 education and hospital dining programs throughout North America.

Dawn Sweeney, the NRA’s president and CEO, said Sodexo’s initiative would give customers the opportunity to make better choices for themselves and their children.

“They’ll be making more healthful choices easily accessible for millions of their customers and, in turn, patrons of restaurant and foodservice establishments across the country,” she said. “Sodexo’s extensive reach, scope and commitment will be an integral part of the restaurant and foodservice industry’s ongoing efforts to battle childhood obesity."

The Gaithersburg, Md.-based Sodexo announced its plan to motivate diners to choose more nutritious meals at its onsite foodservice locations at this year’s Partnership for a Healthier America conference in Washington, D.C., March 12-14. According to George Chavel, the company’s president and CEO, Sodexo will use its Mindful Healthy Dining program as the launching pad for the rollout of its new dining plan.

“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,” he said. “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 no 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.”

Lawrence A. Soler, CEO of the Partnership for a Healthier America, said, “Sodexo’s commitment is an example of how one company can have widespread impact on the food system, from school food to vending machines, businesses, hospitals and hotels. PHA is striving to make the healthier choice the easy choice for every parent and family and Sodexo’s commitment … brings us another step closer to doing just that.”

To achieve its goal, Sodexo, in partnership with the PHA, will pursue the following six specific actions:

  • Implement a healthful dining program in 95 percent of its foodservice accounts in key markets by 2017
  • Provide at least 30 percent more healthful options in 45 percent of vending accounts by 2018
  • Implement a smarter lunchroom program in 90 percent of its K-12 education accounts by 2016 to equip primary and secondary school lunchrooms with tools to improve eating behaviors of children
  • Serve an additional 17 million free breakfast meals in schools by 2018 in its primary and secondary school accounts
  • Implement the PHA Hospital Healthy Food Initiative in 20 percent of accounts by 2018
  • 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.

In addition to its partnership with the PHA, Sodexo, through its dining program at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, participates in the NRA’s Kids LiveWell nutrition initiative, which showcases and promotes healthful and nutritious children’s meals at restaurants. The program, which launched in 2011, was created in partnership with California-based nutrition consultant Healthy Dining Inc.

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