Candy

In a move to support the efforts of First Lady Michelle Obama and the Partnership for a Healthier America campaign launched out of concern over the rising number of diet-related health issues affecting millions of Americans, particularly the nation’s children, the Mars company has announced a plan to reduce the sizes—and calories—of its top-selling candy bars by the end of 2013.

Products like Mars’ king-sized Snickers bar will be pulled from the market permanently and replaced with smaller “skinnier” bars that have significantly fewer calories.  The company plans to replace the king-size (more than 500 calories) with four smaller individually wrapped bars sold in a single bag, which the company claims will promote “sharing” and consuming fewer calories in one sitting. While candy will see a reduction in size—and thus calories—they won’t see any alteration of their ingredients such as lower-calorie sweeteners in place of high fructose corn syrup… just yet.

Sixteen manufacturers—including Mars—are part of the new Partnership for a Healthier America program that will see snack and candy food product manufacturers reducing the total calories of certain products by more than 1.5 trillion calories no later than the start of 2016.

Obesity in the U.S. has risen significantly over the last several decades, and quite dramatically among the nation’s children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has more than tripled in the last 30 years—with nearly 20 percent of children aged 6-11 diagnosed as clinically obese in 2008.

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Image: Ollie Crafoord