Healthy Vending & Removal of Junk Food in Schools Linked to Healthy Weight in Children
08/23/2012

A recent study finds that students in schools with stronger junk food restrictions are more likely to be at healthier body weights. HUMAN Healthy Vending is wor

Online PR News – 23-August-2012 – Los Angeles, Calif. – A study published on August 13th in Pediatrics found a strong association between healthier weight in children and tougher state laws regulating foods sold in vending machines, a la cart and in student stores (these foods are collectively known as “competitive foods” since they compete with federal meal programs for student spending). This marks a trend where schools are seeing more and more direct evidence that the availability of junk food has harmful effects on students’ health and performance.

HUMAN Healthy Vending, the nation’s leading healthy vending machine provider, has been working with schools to remove junk food and source healthful competitive food options since 2008. The company has created a program where it can remove junk food from a school, replace it with 100% healthier options, and increase the school’s revenues substantially. For example, Tomball High School in Tomball, TX removed its junk food vending machines, replaced them with HUMAN Healthy Vending machines and doubled its vending commissions while also slashing energy costs by more than eighty percent. This resulted in over $10,000 in increased earnings and savings for the school.

In addition to providing students with health-boosting foods and increasing school revenues, HUMAN Healthy Vending provides the additional benefit of taking the guessing work and time constraints out of sourcing healthful foods. No longer do schools have to waste valuable resources to police the competitive foods they offer because HUMAN handles that for them. With obesity the number one public health concern and parents gearing up to send their children back to school, schools and parents are rightfully concerned about school nutrition policy and its role in promoting or detracting from students’ health.

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The Pediatrics study tracked weight changes in 6,300 students from fifth to eighth grade in 40 states between 2004 and 2007. Researchers used the results to compare weight changes over time in states with no laws regulating competitive foods against those in states with strong laws and those with weak laws. Strong laws were defined as those that set out detailed nutrition standards while weak laws were defined as offering only recommendations on the types of food that should be sold without providing specific guidelines.

Students who lived in states with strong competitive foods laws throughout the entire three-year period gained an average of 0.44 fewer body mass index units, or roughly 2.25 fewer pounds for a 5-foot-tall child, than adolescents in states with no policies. Since weight-to-height ratio, or BMI, is the measure of obesity, even 2.25 pounds can affect whether a student weighs in as “obese,” “overweight” or of “normal" weight. The CDC estimates that a fifth of American children are currently obese.

"Schools may shape children’s health more than parents do since children consume up to 50% of their calories while on campus. Instead of gauging the success of their food options by how they affect the BMI index of their students, schools should gauge their success by the breadth of healthful options they offer, the foods’ affordability and whether kids actually want to eat them," said Sean Kelly, CEO and co-founder of HUMAN Healthy Vending. "The true measure of success is when kids want to eat healthfully because they understand that nutritious foods make them feel better and give them energy for all of the things they want to do."

The USDA will soon be publishing revisions to its competitive foods policy and may very well impose stricter competitive foods laws on a national scale, however, this is yet to be seen. Schools will be able to supplement the USDA’s revisions once they go into effect.

Schools interested in learning where their competitive foods guidelines stack up in relation to other schools may contact HUMAN Healthy Vending at any time.

About HUMAN Healthy Vending

HUMAN (Helping Unite Mankind and Nutrition) Healthy Vending’s mission is to make healthy food more convenient than junk food. HUMAN accomplishes this by placing high-tech and eco-friendly vending machines that only vend better-for-you foods and drinks, including fresh produce and locally-sourced foods, in schools, hospitals, gyms and corporate locations across the world. In addition to providing healthful food options, HUMAN machines provide nutrition education via high-definition LCD screens that display streaming videos and other digital content. HUMAN currently has over 1200 machines placed across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

HUMAN Healthy Vending has been ranked by Entrepreneur as one of its “Top 100 Brilliant Companies” and by Forbes as one of “America’s Most Promising Companies.”

HUMAN is proud to use 10% of its proceeds to fund its non-profit charity arm, HUMAN Everywhere. HUMAN Everywhere’s mission is to leverage the power of social entrepreneurship to improve the nation’s collective health by increasing access to nutrition education and healthful foods while advocating for public policy that contributes to these goals.