Board of Health calls for healthier vending machine fare

May 17, 2011

By Staff

Healthier options could start appearing in vending machines throughout King County due to guidelines the county Board of Health adopted last month.

The voluntary guidelines divvy foods and beverages into categories of healthier items and items that people should consume on a limited basis. The goal is to support businesses, community organizations and local governments interested in offering more options and healthier snacks.

Obesity and poor nutrition pose serious problems in King County. More than half of adults and almost one-third of youths qualify as overweight or obese.

In addition, fewer than one-third of adults and youths report consuming enough fruits and vegetables daily, and one-third of youths report consuming one or more sodas per day.

The guidelines include examples of food and beverages for all of the categories, as well as appropriate levels of calories, fat, sugar and sodium. The board used the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 and selected food types — fruits, whole grains, etc. — rather than simply using calories, fat, sodium and sugar for identifying healthy options.

“The healthy choice is the easy choice when good, nutritious foods are available,” Dr. David Fleming, director and health officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County, said in a press release.

The board adopted the guidelines in a unanimous decision April 21. Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger serves as a board member.

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