MEMPHIS, TN -- A voluntary anti-obesity initiative that takes communitywide aim at vending machines kicks off in Memphis this month.
Dubbed the "Million Calorie Match," it is led by the Healthy Memphis Common Table, a nonprofit regional health partnership. With the help of recent funding by a $200,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the program's mission is to reduce caloric values of foods offered outside the home.
The initiative mobilizes businesses, churches and community groups to adopt "healthier" food and beverage policies. Its recommendations include providing low-calorie options in vending machines, as well as at meetings and community gatherings. It also encourages groups to organize exercise programs.
The goal is to have at least 125 organizations volunteer for the program, eliminating a million calories from their collective intakes.
Tennessee had the nation's ninth-highest adult obesity rate, at 30.8%, in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Being healthy requires a complete lifestyle change and if we, as a community, make it easier for individuals to implement healthy eating and exercise into every aspect of their lives -- where we work, where we live and where we play -- this should impact the overall health our citizens of this community tremendously," said Healthy Memphis Common Table chief executive Reneé S. Frazier. "However, it will take the assistance of concerned, forward-thinking organizations to make this happen."