The First Lady Calls for Industry-Wide Effort to Provide Healthier Foods

Earlier this morning, the First Lady spoke about her Let’s Move campaign to take action on childhood obesity at a Grocery Manufacturer’s Association Conference. She urged the manufacturers to join the effort to promote healthy eating habits by rethinking the kinds of products they offer, providing parents clear information about the products, and marketing healthier foods to children.

The First Lady speaks to the Grocery Manufacturers Association Conference

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks before the Grocery Manufacturers Association Conference in Washington, D.C. March 16, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

The First Lady called for clear, consistent labels on the products to help parents make good food decisions. “Folks just don’t have the time to line products up side by side and figure out whether these compare or not.  And they shouldn’t have to.  Parents shouldn’t need a magnifying glass and a calculator to make healthy choices for their kids,” she said.

She also asked them to rethink their marketing strategies targeted towards children, because the majority of commercials and ads promote unhealthy, fattening foods. She emphasized that it would not be enough to limit ads, but they would also need to take a strong effort to begin marketing healthy foods.

The First Lady explained that the government is taking similar steps by providing fresher, healthier food choices in all federal government workplaces.

“Today, with the issue of childhood obesity, we all face a similar opportunity.  And you face it not just as food industry leaders, but you face it as parents who love your kids and as citizens who love this nation.  And in the end, I am hopeful that you will choose to make the changes that we need not just because they’re good for your company, but because they’re good for our country. I know that you’ll do these things not just to fulfill your obligation to shareholders, but also because you have a sense of obligation to our children -- because the truth is, all of us are paying the cost of childhood obesity.  But the truth is also that we all will gain from addressing it once and for all.”

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