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FirstBIKE, Knowledge Universe, Nutri Ventures, Sodexo and Four Hospital Systems Join the Partnership for a Healthier America to Offer Healthier Choices

At PHA’s annual Summit, organizations announce new commitments aimed at ending the childhood obesity epidemic

WASHINGTON, DC (March 13, 2014) – FirstBIKE, Knowledge Universe, Nutri Ventures, Sodexo and four hospital systems announced new commitments to the childhood obesity fight today at the Partnership for a Healthier America’s (PHA) 2014 Building a Healthier Future Summit. PHA works with the private sector and its honorary chair First Lady Michelle Obama to end the nation’s childhood obesity crisis.

“We are so pleased about the commitments announced today and the difference that these companies will make in the health of children for years to come,” said PHA CEO Lawrence A. Soler. “Our new partners are putting a stake in the ground to provide healthier options and lifestyles for millions of Americans – nationally and locally. We are proud to have them join us in the fight against childhood obesity.”

FirstBIKE ™ develops durable, lightweight training bikes for children between ages 2 and 5, which support the development of balance and provide a no-stress method of learning to ride a bike. FirstBIKE is committing to donate balance bikes to the YMCA and similar organizations in order to provide increased physical activity opportunities for children in early childcare environments.

Knowledge Universe, the largest private early childhood education provider, with more than 2,000 locations in the U.S., is implementing specific standards that promote healthier behavior at its KinderCare, CCLC and Champions centers. Knowledge Universe’s commitment –which reflects the best practices determined by the Yale Wellness Child Care Assessment Tool (WellCCAT) –focuses on limiting screen time, providing ample opportunities for physical activity, healthy food and beverage choices, accommodating mothers who wish to breastfeed and offering engagement and nutrition education for parents.

Nutri Ventures is the world’s first multi-platform children’s entertainment brand that emphasizes nutrition and healthy eating. Its globally popular animated television series, “Nutri Ventures: The Quest for the 7 Kingdoms”, is just the start of its entertainment content, which also includes music videos and other digital content; special materials for kids, parents and educators; and a virtual online world that kids can explore. Today, Nutri Ventures committed to use its multi-media entertainment to promote healthy lifestyles and nutritious foods to children across the country.

Sodexo is the global leader in Quality of Life Services, providing integrated facilities management and food service operations to corporate, education, health care and government market segments. Serving more than 15 million consumers daily at 9,000 client sites in North America, Sodexo committed to implement healthy dining programs in 95 percent of its food service accounts, expand healthier food choices in hospitals, offer more free breakfast meals in schools and increase the selection of healthier, more nutritious options in its vending and K-12 lunchroom programs.

Eskenazi Health, Meridian, St. Luke’s Hospital and UnityPoint Health – Trinity have joined nearly 400 hospitals in PHA’s Hospital Healthy Food Initiative in a commitment to offer more healthy options throughout their facilities over the next few years. These hospitals will implement PHA’s Hospital Healthy Food Initiative guidelines, which include improving the nutrition of patient meals as well as that of the food options in on-site cafeterias.

Specifically, FirstBIKE is making the following commitment:

  • Donating an annual minimum of 1,300 PHA-branded bikes to the YMCA and other youth organizations over the next three years.

Specifically, Knowledge Universe is making the following commitments:

  • Maintain and implement policies and procedures that reflect the best practices as determined by the WellCCAT in 95 percent of centers in the next three years, including:

    • Serving fruits and/or vegetables at every meal and snack, as well as encouraging family-style eating whenever possible at mealtimes.
    • Serving healthier beverages such as water, low-fat milk and age-appropriate servings of 100 percent fruit juice.
    • Providing at least one hour of physical activity a day every day at its centers, taking advantage of opportunities for outside play whenever possible.
    • Ensuring a policy of no screen time for children under two and working with parents and caregivers to ensure that screen time for children over two is limited to one hour each day.
    • Accommodating mothers who want to breastfeed their infants during the day.
    • Working directly with parents and caregivers through informational materials and other outreach activities that encourage families to make healthier lifestyle choices at home.

Specifically, Nutri Ventures is making the following commitments:

  • Making its animated content available, at no cost, to all public school systems throughout the U.S., so that as many kids as possible can benefit from its entertaining and instructional content that encourages nutritious eating and healthy lifestyles.

  • Allowing use of entertainment characters, at no cost and solely for educational purposes, by school personnel or in school cafeterias.

  • Following established nutrition standards to determine what foods and beverages can use licensed characters.

Specifically, Sodexo is making the following commitments:

  • Implementing a healthy dining program in 95 percent of food service accounts by 2017. The Mindful Healthy Dining Program, which offers a variety of foods that balance nutrition with enticing flavors, will be put in place in Sodexo’s foodservice accounts that serve the patrons of cafes in industry, government and campus settings.

  • Providing at least 30 percent healthier options in 45 percent of vending accounts by 2018.

  • Implementing a smarter lunchroom program in 90 percent of K-12 accounts by 2016. Sodexo will use research-based principles recommended in the Smarter Lunchroom Movement – developed by the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs – to equip primary and secondary school lunchrooms with tools to improve the eating behaviors of children.

  • Serving an additional 17 million free breakfast meals in schools by 2018 in its primary and secondary school accounts.

  • Implementing a healthier children’s meal – default fruit or vegetable side and default water or low-fat milk beverage – in 40 percent of food service accounts at cultural destinations by 2015. These locations include places like aquariums, museums, ballparks and other recreational venues where Sodexo manages food service.

  • Implementing the PHA Hospital Healthy Food Initiative in 25 percent of accounts by 2018.

Specifically, Eskenazi Health, Meridian, St. Luke’s Hospital and UnityPoint Health – Trinity are making the following commitments:

  • Employing calories per serving labels on all items available on the general service patient meal menus, in the cafeteria and at the point of purchase or service by July 2015.

  • Displaying and promoting only health-promoting food options – such as lean meat, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, low-fat milk and water – or meal options that follow the MyPlate standards in cafeteria and general patient feeding menus food advertising and pictorials by July 2014.

  • Promoting only health food options at all cash register stations and within five feet of the point of sales in hospital cafeterias by July 2014.

  • Offering at least one affordable children’s wellness meal and at least one general wellness meal daily in the cafeteria and on the general pediatric patient menus.

  • Offering health-promoting à la carte entrees and side dishes in the cafeteria and on the general service patient menus.

  • Removing all fryers and deep fat fried products offered in the cafeteria and on the general service patient menus by December 2016.

  • Increasing the percentage of fruit and vegetable purchases by 20% annually or 10% of total food purchases, as well as increasing the percentage of healthier beverages purchases by 80% of the overall beverage purchases by July 2016.


The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) is devoted to working with the private sector to ensure the health of our nation’s youth by solving the childhood obesity crisis. In 2010, PHA was created in conjunction with – but independent from – First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! effort. PHA is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that is led by some of the nation’s most respected health and childhood obesity experts. PHA brings together public, private and nonprofit leaders to broker meaningful commitments and develop strategies to end childhood obesity. Most important, PHA ensures that commitments made are commitments kept by working with unbiased third parties to monitor and publicly report on the progress our partners are making. For more information about PHA, please visit www.aHealthierAmerica.org and follow PHA on Twitter @PHAnews.

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