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National Restaurant Association - NRA meets with White House on childhood obesity

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NRA meets with White House on childhood obesity

Restaurants are increasingly expanding the healthful options they offer children, the National Restaurant Association recently told key White House Administration officials.

The Association briefed officials from First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign on the industry’s progress in helping to curb childhood obesity and promote more healthful lifestyles for children.

Called “Tipping the Scales,” the June 17 roundtable featured executives from the NRA, Nestle Nutrition, the Coca-Cola Co., Dow AgroSciences, the Entertainment Software Association and the Cartoon Network, who talked about the initiatives they’ve incorporated at their respective companies and associations to tackle the issue of child nutrition.

Scott DeFife, the NRA’s executive vice president of policy and government affairs, told the Let’s Move officials about the NRA’s Kids LiveWell program, now featured at nearly 140 foodservice brands at 40,000 locations around the country. He said the NRA and its members are committed to working with public health officials to present more healthful alternatives for Americans.

Government officials at the roundtable included Sam Kass, executive director of Let’s Move and the White House’s senior policy advisor on nutrition, and Janey Thornton, deputy Under Secretary for food, nutrition and consumer services at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

DeFife described the progress Kids LiveWell has made in attracting increasing numbers of manufacturers, distributors and large and small restaurant chains and independent restaurateurs to participate in the initiative, which will celebrate its second anniversary in July.

“This meeting allowed private-sector companies and associations to highlight some of the successful initiatives we’ve implemented that relate to the First Lady’s Let’s Move campaign,” DeFife said. “For us, it was a great opportunity to update administration officials on our Kids LiveWell initiative and the restaurant industry’s voluntary efforts to provide more healthful choices for parents and their children when they dine out.”

Kids LiveWell, created in partnership with nutrition consultant Healthy Dining Inc., debuted in 2011 and follows the 2010 USDA nutrition guidelines.

“We talked about our success in getting suppliers and manufacturers, like Sysco Corp., Kraft and Kellogg’s, involved in the program,” he said. “We also told them about our outreach efforts to smaller independent restaurateurs. They seemed extremely positive and very pleased with our progress.

DeFife further noted that the NRA has been pleased to work with the First Lady and her team on the Let’s Move campaign and the USDA on the MyPlate program and would continue to do so.

“This is part of our continued engagement with the White House to show them that the industry can successfully push forward voluntary initiatives that benefit everyone, children in particular,” he said.

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