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Sodexo Joins First Lady Michelle Obama in National Fight Against Childhood Obesity
Company Supports First Lady’s Initiative; 135,000 students to be positively impacted in next school year alone
GAITHERSBURG, Md., February 9, 2010 — Sodexo, Inc., world leader in Quality of Daily Life solutions, serving more than 2.8 million school meals daily to students in more than 470 school districts nationwide, announced today its participation in First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign to eliminate childhood obesity within a generation.
Collectively, Sodexo and its industry partners serve over 750 million school meals annually. The agreement will affect 135,000 students in the 2010-2011 school year alone. In addition, representatives estimate a potential increase of 18,700,000 meals conforming to standards outlined in the HealthierUS School Challenge. The school lunch providers expect to reach 2 million families with nutrition information.
Under the agreement, Sodexo and its industry partners have agreed to support the First Lady’s Initiative by including more fruit, juice, vegetable, whole grain and milk options in reimbursable lunches.
“At Sodexo, we know that access to good nutrition as part of a holistic approach that includes exercise and other good lifestyle choices benefit children not only in their health and wellness but also in their ability to achieve academic success,” said Lorna C. Donatone, Sodexo chief operating officer and Education Market president. “We are proud to advance our current programs, now with the partnership of our industry and the leadership of the White House to combat childhood obesity.”
Sodexo also agreed to increase nutrition education efforts aimed at students and parents, as well as encourage broader participation in the USDA’s HealthierUS School Challenge by providing technical assistance and facilitating paperwork requirements for the schools they serve.
Sodexo also commits to working closely with the White House, and continue to work with federal and state agencies, local school districts and others in the private sector to achieve the First Lady’s goal to eliminate childhood obesity this generation.
Over the longer-term, Sodexo and its industry partners commit to working with suppliers to continue to provide healthy food options; undertake research related to cost efficiency and reimbursable meals; work toward meeting the National Institute of Medicine’s recommended standards for fat, sugar, and whole grains over the next 5 years and the standards for sodium through a 5% annual reduction over the next ten years; and work to double produce offered in school meals over the next 10 years. By some estimates, this would result in an increase of 100 million pounds of fruits and vegetables served each year once full value is achieved in 10 years.
Sodexo, Inc. (www.sodexoUSA.com), a member of Sodexo Group, is a leading provider of Comprehensive Service Solutions serving more than ten million customers daily in corporations, health care, long term care, retirement, schools, higher education, government and remote sites. Headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., Sodexo, Inc. operates in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, with $7.7 billion (USD) in annual revenue and 120,000 employees. Sodexo Group (www.sodexo.com), founded in 1966, employs 380,000 people who serve 50 million people daily in 80 countries. The Sodexo Foundation (www.SodexoFoundation.org) is an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $12.7 million in grants to fight hunger in America. Visit the corporate blog at www.sodexoUSA.com/blog.