Our Commitment to the Challenge of Healthier Eating Across America

Healthier Food Initiative Announcement, Washington, D.C.

By Bill Simon, President & CEO, Walmart U.S.

January 20, 2011

Healthier Food Initiative Announcement, Washington, D.C.

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

Thank you, Andrea. And let me thank you and your entire team for your work.

When you step away from the labels and the percentages … what this comes down to is one basic truth. And that is the fact that healthier eating—while a goal that we all share—is one that is eluding too many Americans.

We know it from talking to our customers—from listening to the harried mom or dad who is trying to do what’s healthy … but realistically, what is affordable.

And in a larger sense, we know it from looking at the statistics. The fact that obesity is rising. Diabetes is more prevalent than ever before. And heart disease is the number one killer in the country. One in three children born in the last ten years will now develop diabetes at some point in their lifetime.

As this room knows well … it is a complex challenge. But as we at Walmart have seen—especially through our journey with sustainability—complex challenges are the very places where we see a role to play.

We have a model for making a difference—a model that lies in our vast supplier network, the 140 million customers we reach each week, and perhaps most importantly—in the simple but powerful mission of helping customers save money to live better.

Through the goals that we have announced today, we are committed to doing our part. But beyond each of these goals, we are committed to being a collaborator in the challenges facing our customers and those of you seated here today.

To truly solve this issue, our nation needs engagement from every sector…the exact type of engagement that our First Lady, Michelle Obama, is leading today.

In the effort to make healthier eating more of a reality in America, no one has been a more influential voice and inspirational leader than our First Lady.

She has shown the nation that this is a challenge—that while pushed aside for too long—is one that together we have the power to solve. If every sector plays a part.

As she has said, “We have the tools at our disposal…all we need is the motivation, the opportunity and the willpower to do what needs to be done.”

Through the Let’s Move Campaign, she is providing the motivation our nation needs.

Since the first seeds of this movement were planted, we’ve seen the fruits of her labor in a number of ways…perhaps most notably in the signing last month of the The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

It will improve the quality of school breakfasts and lunches in schools…while also strengthening nutrition programs that serve young children, such as WIC and the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

Mrs. Obama—on behalf of the men and women in this room, on behalf of our entire team at Walmart, on behalf of the American families we serve—thank you for your leadership. And it is now is my distinct honor to welcome you to say a few words. Ladies and gentlemen…the First Lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama.