April 7, 2008 / 8:12 AM / 11 years ago

Japan charity promotes slimming to feed hungry

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - A Japanese plan that helps obese workers by offering them healthy canteen meals and in turn funds school meals in Africa is to spread to the United States.

The “Table for Two” program sees 20 cents from every healthy canteen meal go to fund school meals in Uganda, where 20 cents is the average cost of a student’s meal.

The program, launched last year by Japanese members of the Young Global Leaders network of the World Economic Forum, has 40 Japanese companies and government offices in the scheme.

Investment bank Lehman Brothers Inc will start serving “Table for Two” meals at its New York headquarters in June.

Masa Kogure, president of “Table For Two” International, hopes his charity’s two-pronged approach will help address obesity, one of the main food problems in industrialized countries, as well as hunger in the developing world.

Obesity is a growing problem in the United States.

The charity is about to send the first batch of funding to Uganda and aims to spread the program to other African countries.

Companies that sign up for the program continue to serve normal meals in canteens, but offer healthy options such as grilled fish with vegetables or noodles with vegetables and seaweed.

Kogure said grilled vegetables were among the biggest hits with “Table for Two” regulars at companies such as IBM Japan and Resona bank.

Reporting by Sophie Hardach; Editing by Michael Perry

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