Health Watch: Walmart Fights Obesity

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A retail giant is joining the fight against obesity, in a big way, and making drastic changes to the food it sells.

Walmart, the largest grocer in the United States, is reformulating thousands of products to make them healthier, and is pushing its suppliers to do the same. This all comes thanks to a push from the First Lady.

First Lady Michelle Obama embraced executives of Walmart in thanks for helping her initiative to change the way Americans eat.

“It’s a victory for parents. It’s a victory for families. But most of all, it’s a victory for our children,” said Obama.

That victory is Walmart’s commitment to cut sodium in its products by 25 percent, added sugars by 10 percent, and get rid of trans fats altogether, over the next five years.

Walmart says it will keep prices low, and cut the cost of fruit and vegetables.

“Customers should not have to pay more to eat healthier,” said Andrea Thomas, with Walmart.

Watch the video…

Walmart is also committed to help customers identify items that are more healthy, with a new seal on some products.

“This simple front of package seal will apply to a small number of healthier products and give customers an easier way to instantly identify food options that are better for them,” said Thomas.

Shoppers like Vonetta Ewing say that’s all good, as long as the prices are within reach.

“I’m always checking prices you know always trying to check for one that’s healthy and then you know what has the best cost to it,” said Ewing.

Walmart also says part of this initiative includes building stores in neighborhoods that currently don’t have grocery stores.

Critics say if Walmart really wants to fight obesity it could make more dramatic improvements, and faster.

In addition, Walmart will be giving money to programs that educate consumers to make healthier choices.

RELATED LINK:

Walmart’s Healthy Food Initiative

Reported By Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3

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