A company famous for rolling back prices, Wal-Mart is now garnering attention for ramping up its philanthropic spending, as it recently donated $9.5 million toward promoting healthy eating.
The money is meant to fund educational programs, such as those that teach the basics of nutrition, buying healthy foods on a fixed income, and how to cook healthily, dispersed among organizations like the American Medical Association Foundation, the Children’s Health Fund, and the National Latino Children’s Institute. Also receiving funds, the National Black Child Development Institute was given $300,000 to develop nutrition programs in five cities, reaching approximately 10,000 African Americans. The Action for Health Kids organization received $1.5 million to provide healthier meals to children at 400 schools across the country, as well as educational programs. And the Share Our Strength fund received $4 million, aimed at helping those with low incomes learn how to shop and cook healthily on a budget.
Wal-Mart says it hopes to reach about 300,000 individuals through this initiative. Yet, though an impressive number, 300,000 is but a fraction of the nationwide obesity epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports roughly 33.8% of the U.S. adult population and 17% of children ages two to 19 are considered not just overweight but clinically obese. Of those numbers, approximately 44.1% are non-Hispanic African Americans, 39.3% are Hispanic, and 32.6% are Caucasian.