Vending Machines May Provide More Healthy Choices

Proposed Policy Would Affect County Facilities

Vending machines at San Diego County facilities would be required to include a greater variety of healthy food and drink choices under a proposed policy brought Tuesday before the Board of Supervisors.

"By expanding healthy choice items in our vending machines at the county, we are doing our part in creating a healthy environment," said Supervisor Pam Slater-Price.

The proposed policy was brought forward by Slater-Price and Supervisor Ron Roberts as part of their overall strategy to combat childhood obesity.

"If we are going to reduce the rate of obesity, we need to tackle it from every angle," Roberts said. "One simple way is to offer healthier choices to our employees, the public and especially our children."

The board directed the chief administrative officer to draft a policy -- to be considered in 90 days -- that would govern the contents of vending machines at county buildings.

The guidelines would likely be modeled after a policy already in place by the County Park and Recreation Department.

The policy is expected to mandate that vending machines located at county facilities that primarily serve youth, like Juvenile Hall, have 100 percent of products meet certain nutritional guidelines.

Half of the food and drinks stocked in vending machines at other facilities, such as the County Administration Center, would have to meet those nutritional guidelines.

"This does not restrict all items to being `quote unquote' healthy, but does offer a varied choice," Slater-Price said.

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