The president and C.E.O. of an Iowa-based grocery store chain is helping lead a national effort to reduce obesity. Hy-Vee’s Ric Jurgens is serving as vice-chair of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, a coalition of 40 retailers, non-governmental organizations and food and beverage manufacturers.
“While all of the manufacturers and retailers across the country have had individual initiatives, this is really the first time that we’ve banded together as an industry to try and make a difference and try and come up with common platforms to help change the trend of obesity in America,” Jurgens said.
The group unveiled the initiative this morning in Washington, D.C. before the National Press Club. Foundation members have already committed $20 million to the effort to reduce obesity, particularly among children, by 2015. Jurgens says the initiative will focus on three areas – the marketplace, the workplace and schools.
“We will be monitoring the success of all of those areas to make sure we aren’t just talking the talk…that we’re actually getting things done,” Jurgens told Radio Iowa by phone. He says Hy-Vee will contribute $300,000 to the initiative over the next five years.