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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Park District has been installing vending machines stocked exclusively with snacks that meet new guidelines limiting calories, sodium, fat and sugar. Additionally, at least one snack selection per machine is gluten- and peanut-free.
All snacks, ranging from 100-calorie cookies packs to granola bars and baked veggie chips, vend for $1.
Chicago Park District officials said 20 of the snack venders, operated by Compass Group USA, have been deployed since May. Plans call for almost 100 machines in the parks' 250 fieldhouses citywide by the end of next year.
The machines stocked with healthier products are part of a multi-agency, citywide taskforce effort to reduce childhood obesity.
"As part of our commitment to supporting healthy lifestyles for Chicagoans, we are proud to be a leader in setting policy that can serve as a national model for combating obesity, beginning with what patrons find when they're in our facilities," said interim Chicago Park District general superintendent and chief executive Mike Kelly.