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Straight from the Headlines: Chicago Healthy Vending Machine Ordinance

Healthy living is a trend that is taking the U.S by storm and affecting nearly every industry as a result, including the vending machine industry. In a December blog post on the Chicago Tribune website, Mayor Rahm Emanual is reportedly pushing the “Chicago Lives Healthy” campaign that encourages Chicagoans to make better choices…even when it comes to what sort of treat they’re purchasing from the snack machine at work.

As a part of the “Chicago Lives Healthy” campaign, city employees who quit smoking, reduce their blood pressure or lose weight are eligible to reduce their health insurance costs. As a result, the city is sponsoring contests and rewards as incentives to employees to help them live healthier. In addition, an Emanuel-backed ordinance that will be taking effect during the month of January will enforce strict rules on vending machine services in city owned and leased buildings. It requires that at least 75 percent of items in the machines meet certain health guidelines. 

So what exactly are these guidelines?

The ordinance specifies which fats are allowed in vending machine items. 10 percent of calories in each item can come from saturated fat and each item is restricted to no more than 35 percent of its total calories from fat. In addition, sodium must be no higher than 400 milligrams. The other 25 percent of items found in local vending machines are allowed regardless of fat or calories.

As a result of this ordinance, City of Chicago employees will be seeing more vending machines stuffed with granola bars, baked chips and fat-free cookies.

“When city employees take their wellness into their own hands, we can reduce health care costs and also serve as a model for residents of Chicago when it comes to making healthy choices,” said Emanuel.

Similarly to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s banned sales of sugary drinks larger than 16 oz in New York City, the new ordinance has some wondering if government is overstepping their bounds by dictating what people will have access to when they purchase a snack from their local vending machine and others believe that people need help when it comes to eating nutritiously.

Whether you’re for it or not, the new ordinance will be coming into effect sometime during the month of January.

Creative Commons License Nina Matthews via Compfight

Sarah Wozniak

Staff Writer, Page1 Online Marketing

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