First lady Michelle Obama was in good company when she visited a Subway restaurant in the nation’s capital on Jan. 24 to announce a joint venture with the nationwide chain.

Accompanied by Olympic gold medalists Michael Phelps and Nastia Liukin and New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck, the first lady announced a three-year deal with Subway and the Partnership for a Healthier America to promote healthy eating among kids.

As part of the initiative, which is tied into Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign against childhood obesity, the restaurant has agreed to align its kids’ menus with the federal standards of the national school lunch program.

A $41 million media campaign will also push healthier options to children with a strong focus on fruits and vegetables.

“I’m excited about these initiatives not just as a First Lady, but also as a mom,” Obama said in a statement. “Subway’s kids’ menu makes life easier for parents, because they know that no matter what their kids order, it’s going to be a healthy choice.”

As part of the new partnership, advertising in Subway locations targeting children will be solely focused on the healthier options available.

“Subway restaurant’s commitment today builds on the brand’s already strong track record of offering healthier choices to kids, for which it has been lauded by families and health advocates alike,” Dr. James R. Gavin III, chairman of the Partnership for a Healthier America, said in a statement. “The new and significant investment it is making today will not only help make fruits and vegetables fun for kids, it will also offer busy moms and dads easy, healthy choices for their families when they’re on the go.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, being obese is not the same thing as being overweight according to height. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention claim that the consequences of childhood obesity can be severe and far-reaching. According to the CDC, approximately 35 percent of adults and 17 percent, or 12.5 million, children are obese.

Of the children who present signs of obesity, 70 percent also exhibit signs of cardiovascular disease such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

“With this partnership with the Partnership for a Healthier America, we will now reach millions of kids as part of a healthier eating education campaign, making it our largest outreach campaign to date,” Suzanne Greco, vice president of R&D and Operations for Subway, said in a statement. “From a sign on each restaurant’s door that says ‘Playtime Powered by Veggies’ to a video collaboration with Disney’s The Muppets, we will build upon our ongoing efforts to create even better choices for families. We hold ourselves to the highest standards in the industry when it comes to speaking to children and their families. Now we are letting everyone else know what that standard is.”


Alexis Taylor

AFRO Staff Writer