You might have noticed something different
during your last snack break.
Our vending machines now offer
items with your health in mind.
Hello, I'm Dr. William Walker, County Health Officer and
Director of Contra Costa Health Services.
Our new policy of 100% healthful snacks affirms
our healthy message by requiring that all items in
vending machines on Health Services properties meet
specific nutrition standards.
As a public health agency, we can do no less than
serve as a model for the children and families who use
our services across the county.
When I was approached with this
suggestion almost a year ago,
I supported it wholeheartedly&emdash;and I still do.
The sale of sugar-sweetened beverages and
snacks was undermining the efforts of our providers.
In some cases, providers were in one room
actively counseling patients against
drinking sodas and eating junk food, while
these products were being sold at a profit by
our Health Center on the other side of the wall.
We saw this in our health centers and WIC Program,
where 40 percent of low-income children are overweight or obese.
Obesity is probably the most critical
health issue facing Americans
and leads to higher rates
of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
If obesity rates continue to rise,
a child born into today's world
could have a lower life expectancy than
his parents did when they were born.
Replacing vending machines alone will not
prevent obesity nor improve health outcomes,
but this is a good first step.
Our new vending policy means that healthy snacks
are more readily available.
It means we're serious about our healthful eating message
and we're setting a good example
by creating an environment that supports health.
We are not—and don't want to be—in the
business of telling you what to eat.
You still have the option to bring whatever
food or drink you wish to work.
You also have the option of letting us know which
healthful snacks you prefer.
We'll take those suggestions seriously and
work with our vendors to offer the best selection of
healthful options as possible.
The policy also gives us the ability to direct
vending machine profits to our Public Health Division,
where it will be used to strengthen our
obesity prevention efforts.
This is an exciting step and we are one of only a
few leaders to make this transition.
Your feedback is invaluable during these early stages.
We have heard from some of you and have made
changes to the food selection based on your response.
If you did not fill out a feedback form during
the taste testing events,
please send your comments to 925-313-6808.