Health Changes in Vending Machines

Last week Michelle Obama hosted a national live web chat designed to alert parents to childhood obesity, one of the country’s most serious health epidemics. San Francisco, arguably the most liberal  city in the country, banned sodas and sugar sweetened drinks from public-property drink vending machines. They were replaced with diet drinks and soy milk.

That’s all well and good, but it will take more than ridding drink vending machines of soda to cut down on childhood obesity.  These reforms should educate children about the perils of eating too much meat, salts, and processed snacks. They powers at be should focus more on what it is that children are eating at school, moving away from the soggy hamburgers and greasy pizza so common in cafeterias. Offering more heart healthy options – like grains and fruit – and fewer processed foods – like cheap peanut butter and salted lunch meats –  will help children understand that what they are putting into their body is better for them.

Snack vending machines will one day have options that range from chocolate bars to crackers. What about minimally processed cheeses and natural potato chips, juices and sodas with real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. Hopefully that day isn’t too far away.