Two years after adopting a policy which required at least half of all snacks sold in vending machines at parks and recreation facilities be considered healthy, Seattle’s city council is extending the policy to all of the city’s properties.
Now, in any city-owned building, park, or recreation facility in Seattle, “healthier” or “healthiest” snack options must make up at least half of the contents of all the vending machines, as determined by a list put together by the Seattle-King County Public Health Department. The area Health Department estimates that more than 50 percent of the area’s adults are overweight or obese, which is more than the national average.
The city council said that it wanted to make healthier choices available to those who want them, including people who work in city buildings and those who visit the properties. The city council unanimously adopted the measure, which was sponsored by councilman Richard Conlin.
“Healthy vending helps to make the healthy choice the easy choice,” Conlin said. “This is one way we can support healthy and productive City employees. City employees will now have more opportunities to consume more nutritious food and beverages while at work.”
The measure means that city workers and visitors to Seattle’s city properties might find baby carrots and celery sticks next to their favorite candy bar or package of snack chips. In addition to fresh vegetables, the guidelines also specify that healthier options might also include fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds, fat-free dairy and lean meats and fish.
Seattle recently drew international attention when it announced it was building an “edible forest” in its Beacon Hill neighborhood just 2.5 miles from downtown. Seven acres of land open to the public will allow fruit picking from gardens and orchards.