MEMPHIS, TN -- Vending machines in government buildings in greater Memphis are being restocked with snacks that meet the National Automatic Merchandising Association's Fit Pick nutritional standards. The new machine menus complement the Healthy Shelby awareness plan implemented by Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell Jr. earlier this year.
The change impacts 172 vending machines located in 17 buildings held by the Shelby County government. Under the mayor's plan, 50% of the foods can have no more than 35% of calories from fat and 10% of calories from saturated fat.
The Fit Pick program, unveiled by the vending association in 2008, is based on the dietary recommendations of the American Heart Association. It includes stickers that are placed in front of qualifying product and clings that explain the nutrition standard.
Fit Pick is part of NAMA's Balanced for Life, a program that educates consumers about the elements of a balanced diet and the importance of physical activity.
"Providing an effective public health program is one of my top priorities," said Luttrell. "It makes good sense for Shelby County government to promote a healthier lifestyle for our employees and visitors."
Kenneth Robinson, M.D., health policy advisor to the mayor, said the county government is trying to educate the public about the dangers of obesity and the connection it has to high blood pressure and chronic diseases. "Healthier choices at the vending machines emphasize the importance of our message to stay fit," he said.
NAMA's Fit Pick program has been widely adopted by businesses, municipal and state governments and school districts across the country. A bipartisan think-tank led by former Sens. Bob Dole and Tom Daschle recently issued a report citing the U.S. Army's pilot of NAMA's Fit Pick program and urging its wider implementation. | SEE STORY