Vending Industry Launches National Campaign to Fight Childhood Obesity

Jan 13, 2005, 00:00 ET from NAMA

    WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Professional football legend Lynn
 Swann today helped the vending and coffee service industry unveil its 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 importance of a balanced diet
 along with regular physical activity.
     "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," said Geerdes.  "We want to be part of the solution, which is why we
 have created this program."
     Swann, a star in two Rose Bowls and four Super Bowls, reminded students
 that, "Physical activity should not be an elective -- it should be part of our
 daily lifestyle."
     Program elements include a new Web site,
 and two partnerships:  one with non-profit America Scores to promote nutrition
 education and physical activity through their after school soccer and literacy
 program, and the second with the Columbus (Ohio) Children's Hospital to
 promote their Snackwise Nutrition Rating System developed by the hospital's
 Borden Center for Nutrition & Wellness.
     According to hospital research dietitian Jan Ritter, "The Snackwise
 Nutrition Rating System rates the overall nutritional quality of snack foods
 through an easy to recognize color code of green, best choice, yellow, choose
 occasionally, or red, choose rarely.
     Through the organization's partnership with non-profit America Scores,
 Balanced for Life dietitians will deliver nutrition educational materials and
 posters directly to students and teachers in 12 cities and sponsor after
 school soccer programs in four cities across the country -- Washington, DC,
 Chicago, Denver and San Francisco/Oakland -- including a day-long "Balanced
 for Life Jamboree!" that features back-to-back soccer matches at the end of
 the spring semester.
     Geerdes said the Web site is designed as a resource for both students and
 parents with three characters representing Nutrition, Exercise and Education -
 - AJ the Athlete, Healthy Hazel and Shaun the Smart guy -- who will struggle
 throughout the year to become fit and healthy. The website will also include
 information dispelling many nutritional myths; a section where parents can get
 quick and healthy cooking ideas; and a section for kids with ideas about
 staying active and with other nutrition ideas, recommendations and resources.
     Jay Engeln of the National Association of Secondary School Principals,
 pointed out that, "NAMA's Balanced for Life Campaign is important because it
 provides school leaders with a valuable resource to assist in making informed
 decisions relative to providing healthy choices for vending machine product
 while maintaining a revenue source for academic needs and extra-curricular
     For more information visit, or
     NAMA is the national trade association of the food and refreshment
 vending, coffee service and foodservice management industries including on-
 site, commissary, catering, and mobile.