The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) -- formed by retailers, food and beverage companies and others to help reduce obesity, particularly among children -- has partnered with Discovery Education and Meredith Corp. to create an educational outreach campaign via three new separate but integrated Web sites.
Founded last October, the CEO-led HWCF comprises more than 80 retailers, food and beverage manufacturers, trade groups and non-governmental organizations, plus a sporting goods maker and an insurance company. The group seeks to promote ways to help children and adults achieve a healthy weight through energy balance (calories consumed versus calories expended), focusing its messages within the marketplace, the workplace and schools.
The new online initiative aims to encourage healthy-weight initiatives for children by reaching educators and parents through two new sites co-sponsored by HWCF and the media companies. The sites are intended to support First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" initiative to combat childhood obesity.
The Discovery Education/HWCF site (www.energybalance101.com) offers a "comprehensive student engagement program" to provide educators with useful tools to help their students achieve and maintain healthy weights.
The specialized site builds on Discovery Education's expertise via its existing digital media/user community for teachers, currently available in more than half of U.S. schools, according to parent company Discovery Communications, whose networks include Discovery Channel, Science Channel and Animal Planet.
The Meredith/HWCF site (www.parents.com/hwcf) leverages Meredith's position as the leading media/marketing company focused on women, with reach to more than 75 million women and 21 million mothers through its print and digital brands (including Parents, Better Homes and Gardens, Ladies' Home Journal and Family Circle). The site's program offers parents advice on healthy snacking, reading food labels, exercising as a family and other simple lifestyle changes to improve family health/weight management.
The companies will also employ their database capabilities to help target outreach and drive awareness of the new resources among demographic groups most at risk for high obesity, HWCF executive director Lisa Gable noted during a press conference on the initiative's launch.
In addition, HWCF, in cooperation with the National Business Group on Health, has launched a third new site (YourWellnessAdvantage.com) designed specifically to help small to mid-size companies create programs to help employees become more aware of and involved in reducing obesity and adopting healthier lifestyles.
Gable -- pointing out that smaller companies are most directly impacted by employee absences and the many millions in healthcare costs associated with employee health problems associated with obesity -- said the site will help these companies achieve "big-company results without big-company costs."
The three sites have been designed to drive traffic among them and encourage "integrated educational and cross-promotional opportunities," according to Gable.
Corporate members of HWCF include F&B's Bumble Bee Foods, Campbell Soup Company, ConAgra Foods, Faribault Foods, General Mills, Kellogg Company, Kraft Foods, Mars, Inc., McCormick & Co., Nestlé USA, PepsiCo (and its foundation), PureCircle Limited, Ralston Foods/Post Foods, Sara Lee Corp., The Coca-Cola Company, The Hershey Company, The J.M. Smucker Company and Unilever.
Participating grocery retailers include Brookshire Grocery Co., Festival Foods (Minn.), Food City, Gonzalez Northgate Market, Harris Teeter, Hy-Vee, IGA, Jax Markets, Martin's Supermarkets, Price Chopper, Redner's Markets, Safeway, Schnuck Markets, Shop Rite of Hunterdon Co., Skogen's Festival Foods, United Supermarkets and Wakefern Food Corp.
Other corporate members include The Sports Authority and TriWest Healthcare Alliance.