A ground-breaking new partnership between McDonald’s and the Clinton Foundation’s Alliance for a Healthier Generation is the latest example of a global collaborative industry effort to scale-up local projects to encourage healthier lifestyles.

Founded by the Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation works to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity and to empower kids to develop lifelong, healthy habits. The Alliance works with schools, companies, community organisations, healthcare professionals and families.

Under the terms of the new partnership, McDonald’s has specifically committed to provide customers with a choice of a side salad, fruit or vegetable as a substitute for fries in its value meals. And to promote and market only water, milk, and juice as the beverage in its Happy Meals.

Liam Jeory, Vice President, Corporate Relations McDonald's Asia/Pacific/Middle East/Africa explained that the commitment extends also to Happy Meal packaging designs, which will be used to generate excitement for fruit, vegetable, low-fat dairy, or water options using dedicated panels to communicate a fun message about nutrition or well-being.

He said “This initiative is another step forward in encouraging healthy lifestyles and diets in Asia and worldwide, and demonstrates an ongoing commitment by McDonald’s and the food and beverage industry to encourage healthier lifestyles. Together, with other members of FIA, we are firmly committed to educating, empowering and encouraging consumers to make informed choices through responsible marketing, reformulation, and nutrition education. We also believe that a ‘whole of society’ approach is needed to tackle health and nutrition challenges, and we think partnerships like this one are critical to help move the dial,” he said.

In a press statement, President Bill Clinton highlighted the importance of collaboration in tackling rising rates of overweight and obesity, adding that industry self-regulation has demonstrated significant results.

“We’ve seen voluntary agreements with industry have profound impact – including our work with the beverage industry to limit the amount of calories shipped to schools. Those agreements resulted in a 90 per cent reduction in total beverage calories shipped to schools between 2004 and 2010,” he said.

Highlighting further commitments by the food and beverage industry to tackle the rising prevalence of overweight and obesity, The Coca-Cola Company recently launched its ‘Get The Ball Moving’ initiative , encouraging more than 3 million Americans to get active.

The initiative is part of The Coca-Cola Company’s commitment to bring people together to help address obesity. These efforts focus on engaging communities, families, experts and governments. In addition, the Company is delivering more beverage choices, calorie information and making physical activity opportunities more available than ever before. This multi-faceted approach that addresses physical activity, nutrition education, nutrition labelling and food innovation is believed to be the best way to address the growing problem of obesity. Coca-Cola is working with other stakeholders, including schools to encourage young people to get active as a way to live a healthier life.

For example, in Singapore, Coca-Cola’s Step With It Singapore! programme not only encourages students and teachers to get physically active but also educates them on energy balance and on the importance of having a balanced diet for a healthy lifestyle. This ongoing initiative has reached more than 400,000 teachers and student since 2003.

FIA Executive Director, Bev Postma, applauds these collaborative efforts to encourage healthier lifestyles in Asia.

“The food and beverage industry is committed to implementing self-regulatory measures, in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders to encourage healthier lifestyles. These two new initiatives are first class examples of the work that is being done by companies here in Asia and around the world to step up to the challenge,” she said.

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