RWJF Statement Regarding Industry Pledge to Remove 1.5 Trillion Calories from U.S. Marketplace

The following is a statement by Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

    • May 17, 2010

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) believes everyone has a role to play in helping to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic, including the food and beverage industry.

The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) is a coalition of more than 80 of the nation’s largest retailers, non-profit organizations, food and beverage manufacturers and trade associations aimed at helping to reduce obesity—especially childhood obesity—by 2015.

Today, HWCF announced it will remove 1.5 trillion calories from the marketplace by 2015, as compared with calories that were available in the marketplace in 2008. The move comes as part of an agreement between HWCF and the Partnership for a Healthier America, an independent, non-partisan organization that seeks to advance progress toward ending childhood obesity within a generation.

RWJF has had extensive conversations with the leadership of HWCF, and we’re confident their commitment to this cause is sincere and measureable—and thus has real potential for impact.

What remains unknown is what effect it will have on efforts to prevent childhood obesity. That’s why RWJF has agreed to fund an independent evaluation of how the group’s efforts to reduce calories in the marketplace affect calories consumed by children and adolescents.

RWJF will support an evaluation by an independent group of scientists who will define the metrics that will be used to track progress and assess the overall impact on children, and we will report the methods and findings publicly.

RWJF applauds HWCF and its member companies for stepping forward to be part of the solution to the childhood obesity epidemic. We encourage other companies to change their products and marketing practices to help reverse the epidemic and ensure that America’s children live healthy lives.

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A.
President and CEO

(Editor’s note: RWJF is one of six founding members of the Partnership for a Healthier America, along with The California Endowment, Kaiser Permanente, Nemours, W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.)