| GEO Health|
| Michelle Obama touts 1.5 trillion calorie cut|
| Updated at: 0820 PST, Tuesday, May 18, 2010|
WASHINGTON: First Lady Michelle Obama has praised US food manufacturers for agreeing to cut 1.5 trillion calories from their products, in a boost for her anti-obesity campaign.
She said that 16 corporations accounting for up to 25 percent of the American food supply chain would trim a total of one trillion calories by 2012 and 1.5 trillion calories by 2015.
"They've agreed to reformulate their foods in a number of ways, including by addressing fat and sugar content, by introducing lower-calorie options, and by reducing the portion sizes of existing single-serve products," Obama said.
"This commitment represents a major step forward to providing Americans with healthier choices so that they can choose to lead healthier lives.
"In the weeks and months to come, we expect to hear more announcements regarding specific steps on reducing sugar, fat and sodium in the foods that our children eat," Obama said.
The First Lady has launched a countrywide campaign to combat an epidemic of child obesity, and is targeting industry efforts, touting the benefits of exercise and highlighting healthy eating and diet.
The companies will make the changes to their products, which include changing various ingredients and portion sizes of individual snacks through the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, a coalition of firms and trade organizations.
"The First Lady has shown tremendous leadership in calling for national action to end childhood obesity," said David Mackay, chairman of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation and the chief executive of Kellogg Company.
"Through this effort, the companies... will provide consumers with additional healthier food options that help them achieve and maintain a healthy diet."
Michelle Obama's initiative aims to rally families, communities, schools, urban planners, politicians and the media to solve the scourge of childhood obesity in a generation.
She points to the urgency of taking action today, at a time when there are already three times more obese children in the United States than 30 years ago.
Because of obesity and the many illnesses and chronic conditions it spawns, health experts have predicted that this generation of American children could be the first to have shorter lifespans than their parents.