WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Beltsville, Maryland-based Monumental Vending today hosted Professional football legend Lynn Swann and the vending industry as together they unveiled the Balanced for Life campaign to help stem rising childhood obesity rates, National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) President and CEO Richard M. Geerdes announced today. The campaign is designed to educate parents, teachers and students about nutrition and the elements of a balanced diet along with the importance of being physically active. At the event Craig Kushner of Monumental Vending said, "The Balanced for Life initiative comes at a time when our nation continues to be focused on escalating childhood obesity rates, which is why the industry should be commended for taking the initiative to help schools, parents and teachers address this serious problem. At Monumental, we've always been at the forefront of the industry which is why we are proud to be here today helping to launch this valuable program that will be so helpful to our community as we work together to solve this critical problem." Monumental Vending is a leading independently owned Vending Service Provider (VSP), conveniently offering cold beverages, snacks, coffee, fresh food and other fine refreshments to clients in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia. By combining the latest technology advancements available in the vending industry with an intense dedication to service since 1991, Monumental Vending builds strong, long lasting client relationships by offering the highest levels of communication, service, professionalism, accountability, technology, and maintenance in the vending industry. For more information, visit http://www.MonumentalVending.com. In discussing the campaign Geerdes said, "We are parents too, and are just as concerned as everyone else about the devastating impact childhood obesity will have on our children and their future. We want to be part of the solution, which is why we have created this program. If we can help our children truly understand the elements of a balanced diet and the importance of being physically active we can have a lasting impact on their lives, protecting and enhancing their future." Geerdes went on to unveil several new program elements including the campaign's new website, http://www.balancedforlife.net and two new partnerships: one with non-profit America Scores to promote nutrition education and physical activity through the organization's highly successful and popular after school soccer and literacy program, and the second with the Columbus Children's Hospital to promote their Snackwise Nutrition Rating System. The Snackwise system helps students understand how different food choices fit into an overall diet by ranking them as either 'choose rarely,' 'choose moderately' or 'choose frequently.' To discuss the Snackwise Nutrition Rating System developed by Columbus Children's Hospital's Borden Center for Nutrition & Wellness, hospital research dietitian Jan Ritter said, "The Snackwise Nutrition Rating System rates the overall nutritional quality of snack foods. This innovative program helps consumers select smarter snack choices through any easy to recognize color code of green, best choice, yellow, choose occasionally or red, choose rarely. It's easy, fun and children can make smarter snack choices early on that will hopefully carry on into adulthood." Geerdes also outlined the campaign's partnership with non-profit America Scores, saying, "Balanced for Life calls for kids to learn about nutrition and be more physically active, and through our partnership with America Scores thousands of kids who in many instances don't have access to any school PE programs at all will learn all about nutrition and have the chance to be active after school playing organized soccer." Through the organization's partnership with non-profit America Scores NAMA Balanced for Life will deliver nutrition education directly to students in twelve cities and sponsor after school soccer programs in four cities across the country: Washington, DC, Chicago, Denver and San Francisco/Oakland. In addition, as part of the partnership, NAMA Balanced for Life dietitians will deliver nutrition education training programs directly to teachers and students in the target America Scores schools. Bi-lingual written Balanced for Life educational materials and posters will be provided to students, teachers, parents and school officials as well. Finally, at the end of the spring semester the program will culminate in a day-long soccer Balanced for life Jamboree! in each of the four cities where hundreds of students, parents, teachers and community leaders will turn out for a day-long Balanced for Life event to watch the students play back-to-back soccer matches. Concluded Geerdes, "NAMA's Balanced for Life campaign is one of the most important initiatives our industry has ever launched because it will help our nation's youth to understand how they can take steps to live better, healthier lives. On behalf of the thousands of dedicated industry professionals working in our industry, we're proud to be here with you as together we work to protect the health and well being of our nation's youth." For more information visit http://www.balancedforlife.net., or http://www.vending.org. NAMA is the national trade association of the food and refreshment vending, coffee service and foodservice management industries including on- site, commissary, catering, & mobile. Its membership is comprised of service companies, equipment manufacturers and suppliers of products and services to operating service companies. The basic mission of the association, to collectively advance and promote the automatic merchandising and OCS industries, still guides NAMA today as it did in 1936, the year of the organization's founding.