Seattle’s Mayor: Consider Healthy Vending

Oct 5, 2012 by

Seattle’s Mayor: Consider Healthy Vending

“Food procurement”:  where public or private institutions develop nutritional standards for the food that is purchased for their employees, in addition to those that are in the care of the institution in question.  Such efforts are important both symbolically, as well as in their ability to make healthy choices easier in our society.
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Many across the country are realizing that, against the backdrop of a worsening obesity epidemic, it is critical that government model the healthy behavior that it encourages in its citizens – and one important way to do this is by providing healthy choices in vending machines.

In the past, we know that the City of Seattle and the Mayor has been a terrific partner for public health. In 2010 the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department adopted a healthy snacks only policy for their vending machines – and they have not experienced any long-term revenue loss. Many organizations are adopting Public Health – Seattle & King County’s Healthy Vending Guidelines.

Still, there is more to be done.

There is a very tangible opportunity to develop a policy that impacts Seattle employees, and, to an extent, the general public as well. Write Mayor Mike McGinn today and tell him that you believe it’s time for local government to “walk its talk” and adopt healthy vending practices across the city’s agencies for the following reasons:

  • Vending machines are a common source of snacks, but are one of the few remaining places where you cannot routinely access healthy food and beverage options.
  • Healthy vending options make the healthy choice an easier, and more readily available choice for employees and visitors alike.
  • Public and private institutions are making healthy options more available by setting a floor for stocking the machines with a minimum percentage of healthy snacks.  The range is usually between 30-50% healthy options offered, with some institutions electing to go as high as 100%.
  • While some will claim that healthy vending “restricts freedoms” or threatens individual choice, in fact, advancing healthy vending policy does the opposite – it provides more choices to those who approach the vending machine.
  • The obesity epidemic is real, and Seattle is no exception. Government encourages healthier behavior among its citizens, yet it needs to “walk its talk.” Healthy vending policy is one easy way to do so.

Tell Mayor McGinn that you support healthy vending policies in City of Seattle properties today.  A copy of our letter to the Mayor can be found here.

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