Sodexo Joins Partnership for a Healthier America in the Fight against Childhood Obesity

March 13, 2014

Sodexo announces new commitments aimed at making healthier choices easier for its millions of customers during the 2014 Building a Healthier Future Summit in Washington

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GAITHERSBURG, Md., March 13, 2014 — Recognizing that millions of children and families in the U.S. face long-term health and social challenges as a result of childhood obesity, Sodexo joined the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) today to announce new commitments to battle the epidemic. In the lead announcement delivered at PHA’s Building an Healthier Future Summit this morning, Sodexo committed to engaging and motivating consumers toward healthy choices by widely deploying Mindful, its healthy dining program; expanding healthier food choices in hospitals; offering more free breakfast meals in schools; and increasing the selection of healthier, more nutritious options in its vending and K-12 lunchroom programs.

“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,” said George Chavel, president and CEO, Sodexo. “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 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.”

Sodexo’s reach and scale is likely one of the strongest weapons it brings to the fight against childhood obesity and subsequent chronic illnesses. With more than 125,000 employees in over 9,000 client locations in North America, the company has an enormous opportunity to positively impact the health and well-being of children, as well as their adult role models. Those role models are critical in shaping the behavior of our children and it is not possible to effectively address childhood obesity without them. Sodexo in North America reaches 15 million consumers each day, including the service of more than 2 million nutritious school meals daily.

PHA works with the private sector and PHA Honorary Chair First Lady Michelle Obama to garner meaningful commitments to help end the childhood obesity crisis. Its more than 60 partners work to make healthier choices more accessible and affordable for busy parents and families.
“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,” said PHA CEO Lawrence A. Soler. “PHA strives to make the healthier choice the easy choice for every parent and family throughout their day, and Sodexo’s commitment today brings us another step closer to doing just that.”

Sodexo’s PHA Commitment includes six specific actions:

  • Implement a healthy dining program in 95 percent of food service accounts in key markets by 2017. The Mindful Healthy Dining Program, which offers a variety of foods that balance nutrition with enticing flavors, will be put in place in Sodexo’s foodservice accounts that serve the patrons of cafes in industry, government and campus settings. 

  • Provide at least 30 percent healthier options in 45 percent of vending accounts by 2018.

  • Implement a smarter lunchroom program in 90 percent of K-12 accounts by 2016. Sodexo will use research-based principles recommended in the Smarter Lunchroom Movement – developed by the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs – to equip primary and secondary school lunchrooms with tools to improve the eating behaviors of children. 

  • Serve an additional 17 million free breakfast meals in schools by 2018 in its primary and secondary school accounts.

  • 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. These locations include places like aquariums, museums, ballparks and other recreational venues where Sodexo manages food service.

  • Implement the PHA Hospital Healthy Food Initiative in 20 percent of accounts by 2018.

For more information about Sodexo’s commitment to health and wellness visit www.sodexousa.com. You can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter @sodexoUSA.

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Sodexo in North America
Sodexo, Inc. (www.sodexoUSA.com), leading Quality of Life services company in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, delivers On-site Services in Corporate, Education, Health Care, Government, and Remote Site segments, as well as Benefits and Rewards Services and Personal and Home Services. Sodexo, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., 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 $20 million in grants to end childhood hunger in America. Visit the corporate blog at blogs.sodexousa.com.

About The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA)
The Partnership for a Healthier America is devoted to working with the private sector to ensure the health of our nation’s youth by solving the childhood obesity crisis. In 2010, PHA was created in conjunction with – but independent from – First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! effort. PHA is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that is led by some of the nation’s most respected health and childhood obesity experts. PHA brings together public, private and nonprofit leaders to broker meaningful commitments and develop strategies to end childhood obesity. Most important, PHA ensures that commitments made are commitments kept by working with unbiased, third parties to monitor and publicly report on the progress our partners are making. For more information about PHA, please visit www.aHealthierAmerica.org and follow PHA on Twitter @PHAnews.


MEDIA CONTACT:
Sam Wells
Sodexo, Inc.
Tel. 301 987 4893
samuel.wells@sodexo.com

Elly Spinweber
Partnership for a Healthier America
(202) 643-3841
espinweber@ahealthieramerica.org