OCTOBER 12, 2011

Walmart Foundation, American Heart Association create program to encourage Americans to cook simple, affordable, healthy meals

DALLAS (Globe Newswire) – The Walmart Foundation and the American Heart Association have launched a program that encourages Americans to cook low-cost, heart-healthy meals at home. Simple Cooking with Heart is teaching Americans how to cook more at home by giving them tools, basic skills and techniques to get started and inspired -- and have fun.

Program components include live demonstrations, online how-to videos, tips, recipes and free downloadable "Host Kits" which encourage people to host in-home parties to practice cooking simple, affordable and healthy meals with family, friends and neighbors. Traditional home-cooked meals are becoming increasingly rare as more people are eating at full-service and fast-food restaurants for taste and convenience. Typically, restaurant food contains more saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, added sugars and calories and less fruits, vegetables and whole grains than home-cooked meals. In the late 1970s, American children ate 17 percent of their meals outside the home and fast food accounted for 2 percent of total energy intake. By the mid-to-late 1990s, 30 percent of meals were eaten outside the home and fast food contributed to 10 percent of overall energy intake.

Away-from-home food also accounts for at least half of all total U.S. food expenditures. "We know that meals prepared at home tend to be more nutritious than restaurant meals, but many American families lack the fundamental skills to prepare healthy, home-cooked meals," said Rachel K. Johnson, Ph.D., R.D., an American Heart Association spokesperson and the Bickford Professor of Nutrition at the University of Vermont. "We must equip American families with basic culinary skills along with nutrition knowledge so they can know how to cook and eat at home," Johnson said. "These changes will help the American Heart Association achieve its aggressive health impact goal to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent by the year 2020." "At Walmart we understand it's vital to help families identify and purchase healthy foods and the American Heart Association is helping make that easier with its new program," said Joe Quinn, senior director at Walmart. "We are committed to bringing our customers healthier food in our stores at our everyday low price, and we are supporting innovative programs that support nutrition education. It will take both of these efforts to achieve real change."

To download the Simple Cooking with Heart Host Kits, find a live-cooking demonstration in your area or for more information on the Simple Cooking with Heart program, visit www.heart.org/simplecooking.

About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke -- America's No. 1 and No. 3 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation's oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or join us, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or any of our offices around the country, or visit www.heart.org.

About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support initiatives that are helping people live better around the globe. In May 2010, Walmart and its Foundation made a historic pledge of $2 billion through 2015 to fight hunger in the U.S. The Walmart Foundation also supports education, workforce development, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness initiatives. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.