Vending Industry Launches National Campaign to Fight Childhood Obesity
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, http://www.balancedforlife.net 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 activities." 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, and mobile.
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