April 20, 2014

Healthy Vending Machines in Schools Hit the East Coast

The same healthy legislation that I spoke about before that has been taking place in California is now taking place across the United States. News reports have surfaced about the same types of standards being made for healthy vending machines snacks in Washington, Massachusetts, and New York. In New York, unhealthy snacks are banned from the time school starts in the morning until the time the last meal is served as school and then can be served again.  The law in Massachusetts models the laws that are being passed in California.  These laws will not only change healthy vending machines in schools, but it will also affect snacks sold a la carte in cafeterias and those sold at fundraisers.

The Bay State

On Wednesday, July 13th, after five months of deliberation, the Public Health Council in Massachusetts approved their new guidelines for healthier options in schools. While many schools in the area have claimed that they have already taken action toward providing healthier options, this will insure that students are offered nutritional items that adhere to specific guidelines.

According to an article posted by local radio station, WAMC, it is requiring that fruits and vegetables be sold wherever food is sold around schools and “ensures that foods meet the standard for fat, sugar, (and) sodium content.”

The Standards

These are just a few of the standards that snacks will face starting in the 2012 school year.

  • A maximum of 200 calories per item.
  • Less than 35% of calories can come from fat.
  • Less than 20% of calories can come from saturated fat.
  • Less than 30% of calories can come from sugars.

It was a unanimous vote by the Public Health Council. Massachusetts is now one of 29 states that have passed similar laws restricting food sold on school grounds. Some criticism has come from groups that fundraise on school grounds.  They will no longer be able to have bake sales and sell items that do not meet the regulations.  Overcoming this challenge and finding great healthy items to sell will only help accomplish the main goal of this law, which is to help fight obesity and poor childhood nutrition.

 

Politics and Healthy Vending Machines?

Politics and vending machines couldn’t be two more vastly different industries, but now thanks to California legislation the two are blending together into one big happy family . It is currently required by California law that 35% of products in vending machines on state property comply with state health standards.  Just some of these standards include, but are not limited to:

  • No more than 35% of a products’ calories can come from total fat (not including nuts and seeds, which are a healthy fat).
  • Products can have no more than 10% of calories from saturated fat.
  • Beverages that are 100% fruit or veggie juice and contain no added sweeteners.
  • With the exception of water, beverages can be no more than 12 ounces.

A bill has been proposed to change that 35% to a total 100% of products that would have to follow these standards. Changing all vending machines on state property into healthy vending machines has cause quiet a stir in Sacramento.

Lobbyists have argued that requiring 100% of the products to be qualified healthy products is outrageous and “unworkable”.  Their reasoning is that they wouldn’t be able to provide state employees with products that they want. Amongst those in opposition is The California Automatic Vendors Council. If the bill passes it will take effect in 2016.

If my understanding of California state property is correct, this bill would include public schools and government run office building. Judging by my past post about healthy vending machines in schools you can see that I am a pretty big advocate of this bill, or at least increasing the amount of healthy products in vending machines.

Healthy Vending Machines in Schools Lead to Healthy Kids at Home

In most public areas you can find vending machines full of convenient snacks and beverages, but one thing you can’t find nearly as often are healthy vending machines in schools. As a child I was always active and busy. Whether it was figure skating practices, dance lessons, or school I was always out of the house and out of the run.  This also meant I was always eating on the run and there definitely weren’t healthy vending machines in schools or anywhere for that matter.

It was hard to find healthy options, especially quick healthy options. There was a McDonalds at the ice rink and vending machines full of fattening chips and candy all around school. Healthy vending machines in schools are starting to pop up more often due to school districts creating programs to help fight childhood obesity.

Here are some statistics that will surprise you:

  1. In the past 30 years, childhood obesity has increased by 300%
  2. Between 16 and 33 percent of children and teens are obese.
  3. Over 8 million children over the age of 6 are considered obese.
  4. The United States is the country with the second most cases of childhood obesity.
  5. Unhealthy weight gain causes over 300,000 deaths each year.
  6. A child that is obese between the ages of 10 and 13 has an 80% chance of being obese as an adult.
  7. Obesity costs society nearly $100 billion each year.

With statistics like these it is no wonder why there is an increase of healthy vending machines in schools. By picking healthy snack options, children will consume less calories and fat every day which will eventually help lead to lowering childhood obesity.

Healthy Vending Machines in schools