Walmart, our country’s largest grocery retailer, announced a couple of weeks ago its five-year plan to make the food and beverages it sells healthier and more affordable. Given that 140 million Americans walk through Walmart’s doors every week, this announcement is huge. I was invited by the American Heart Association (AHA) to participate in a conference call with Walmart executives the day of the announcement and was thrilled to learn that First Lady Michelle Obama had thrown in her support.
What exactly did Walmart promise?
Since so many of us have resolved that we and our families are going to eat healthier this year, I was troubled to learn that nearly 40 percent of the total calories our children eat each day, about 800 calories, are so-called “empty calories” with little nutritional value—or junk food. That’s far more than what most children have room for in a healthy diet, which ranges from 1,200 to 2,400 calories a day, depending on a child’s age, sex and physical-activity level. Sue Krebs-Smith, Ph.D., a researcher at the National Cancer Institute, found that the top sources of calories for American kids aged 2 to 18 years are desserts like cake, cookies, doughnuts and pie (138 calories/day), pizza (136 calories/day) and soda (118 calories/day). When she looked at...read full post »