DC Mayor orders calorie-counting vending machines for city employees

Anissa Ford's picture

DC Mayor Vincent Gray has jumped on the progressive healthcare bandwagon. He says calorie-counting vending machines are a preventative measure in reducing healthcare costs.

And by now, everyone knows that sodas make people sick and that too much soda may be lethal.

The Coca-Cola Company, Dr Pepper Snapple Group and PepsiCo will work with Mayor Gray, food service operators and vending companies to:

*Increase availability of lower-calorie beverages in vending machines;
*Display a "Calories Count ™ " vending snipe on the front of beverage vending machines reminding consumers to consider calories in their beverage choices with messages such as "Check, then Choose" and "Try a Low-Calorie Beverage"; and
*Add calorie labels to the selection buttons on beverage vending machines to show calorie counts per beverage container.

"I'm glad that the District will be in the vanguard of municipal governments working with our nation's beverage companies to ensure that our workers and visitors to our municipal facilities have the information they need to make the best choices for their lifestyles," Mayor Gray said in a press release. "This program is a great example of a public/private partnership that empowers consumers."

That big name brands like Coke and Pepsi are participating in the latest health movement against carbonated, sweetened drinks suggests that the big beverage vendors are in cohesion with the effort to create a newer, healthier America.

But in NYC, beverage companies were quick to oppose Bloomberg's so called "soda ban". The American Beverage Association has come out in full support DC's calorie counting vending machines and endeavors to ell lower calorie drinks, however.

Worldwide, Americans are plagued with the stereotyped of eating unhealthy. At home, American children, teens and adults are struggling with the highest obesity rates.

"The District already has a number of programs in place to encourage improved health among our residents – including our Sustainable DC initiative to make the District the nation's greenest, healthiest and most livable city – but the Calories Count ™ Vending Program gives us another tool to ensure that our residents can reach their health goals," Mayor Gray noted. "This benefits not only them and their families, but also our entire city by reducing health-care costs in the long run."

The Calories Count ™ Vending Program provides clear calorie information on vending machines, encourages lower-calorie beverage choices and reminds consumers that "calories count" in all the choices they make. The program was launched in municipal buildings in Chicago and San Antonio in late 2012, and with the support of NAMA and members of the vending industry, it will now begin rolling out in District of Columbia municipal buildings next month.

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