Bill clinches deal with snack food companies

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Former U.S. President Bill Clinton has convinced some companies to improve the quality of food available in schools in the U.S. and to make school snacks healthier.

The former president has clinched a deal via the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a joint initiative of the William J. Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association with the food manufacturers the Campbell Soup Company, Dannon, Kraft Foods, Mars and PepsiCo, to limit the amount of fat, sugar and salt in foods distributed to schools.

The deal comes just five months after a similar agreement targeted the sale of sodas in schools and places a limit of 35% of total calories coming from fat; elementary schools will have a limit of 150 calories on each non-nutritious snack.

In May, the alliance announced an agreement with beverage industry leaders to sell only water, unsweetened juice and low-fat and nonfat milk in elementary and middle schools.

Diet sodas and sports drinks are still sold in high schools and the agreement covers 87 percent of the soft drink market in public and private schools.

The agreement with the five food makers sets guidelines for fat, sugar, sodium and calories for snack foods sold in school vending machines, stores and snack bars under which most foods will not be permitted to derive more than 35 percent of their calories from fat and more than 10 percent from saturated fat.

There will be a limit of 35 percent for sugar content by weight.

This will effectively rule out such snacks as Snickers bar, which have 280 calories, 130 of them from fat and 30 grams of sugar.

The food producers have promised to change recipes so that more snacks meet the guidelines.

Childhood obesity has reached almost epidemic levels in the U.S. and has been blamed for an increase in early-onset diabetes and other illnesses.

Bill Clinton says the move will make a real difference in the lives of millions of children by helping them eat healthier and live healthier.

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