Partnership for a Healthier America Summit Brings Organizations Together to Fight Obesity
CHICAGO — “Consumers are demanding healthier choices, and businesses that don’t respond risk being left behind,” Dr. James Garvin, board chairman of the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), said during the organization’s 2019 Summit, held April 1-2.
With the theme of “Accelerating a Healthier Future,” the aim of the Summit was to bring together community and healthcare organizations with business and industry leaders to discuss ways to end the national epidemic of obesity, “which is robbing our children of a healthy future,” Garvin said.
Among the Summit’s sponsors were McLane Co. Inc., Giant Foods, PepsiCo Inc., National Confectioners Association, Harold Levinson Associates and The Honest Co. Convenience Store News and NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, were among several media sponsors of the event.
The Summit consisted of both general and breakout sessions spotlighting best practices across industries that address healthier living, particularly for distressed or lower-income consumers.
“Obesity is not a character flaw,” noted Bandine Lacroix of premier sponsor Novo Nordisk, who talked about the need to change how the world sees, presents and treats obesity.
PHA Chief Marketing Officer Blythe Thomas showed a video detailing Giant Foods’ groundbreaking efforts to help its customers make more nutritious food choices. These include front-of-package nutrition labels, the launch of its Guiding Stars ratings, and a fruits and vegetables program.
Another presenter, Kevin Curry, founder of Fit Men Cook, shared his story of how he turned his own misfortune — out of work, lost girlfriend, out of shape, moved back to parents’ house — into a successful healthy eating business, which includes two apps, a bestselling cookbook and a blog.
“Three things I learned on this journey are: people want to be healthy; people want to be inspired, not sold to; and people want a consistent voice,” Curry said, noting that his message is appealing for its focus on consistent calorie-control, rather than any kind of fad diet.
In another session, three restaurant operators, Taco Bell, Roti Modern Mediterranean and Panera Bread, discussed how each brand has worked on such key commitments as clean label, animal welfare, antibiotic-free chicken, plant-based eating and reducing preservatives, additives and sugar.
The 2019 Partnership for a Healthier America Summit took place at the Swissôtel in Chicago.