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Seattle Puts Healthy Snacks in City’s Vending Machines

Three years after Seattle put healthy snacks in vending machines located in parks and recreation facilities, the city Monday applied the policy to all its properties.

That means that at least half of the options in vending machines on city-owned property must be considered “healthier” and “healthiest” options.  To meet this criteria, food items need to be on a list developed by the Seattle-King County Public Health Department.

This means baby carrots and celery sticks will share vending space equally with caramel chocolate bars and peanut butter cups.

The healthy vending machine policy is intended to help those who work or visit city properties to avoid eating too much sugar, saturated and trans fat, refined grains and sodium.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said the city was trying to do its part in providing healthy choices “to those who want them.” The policy was adopted by a unanimous vote of the Seattle City Council. Councilmember Richard Conlin sponsored the measure.

“Healthy vending helps to make the healthy choice the easy choice,” Conlin said. “This is one way we can support healthy and productive City employees. City employees will now have more opportunities to consume more nutritious food and beverages while at work.”

The Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation adopted its vending machine guidelines in 2010. In addition to carrots and celery, the guidelines call for fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds, fat-free dairy and lean meats and fish.

The joint Seattle-King County Public Health Department says more than one half of the area’s adults are overweight or obese.

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