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Wellness Bulletin - Nov 24, 2014
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November 24, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

This week’s bulletin will focus on a webinar I attended during the first week of November:Healthy Vending: Recent Studies to Help Healthy Vending Efforts,co-hosted by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), the Food Marketing Workgroup and the National Policy and Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity. The objective of the webinar was to discuss how communities are taking a closer look at the nutritional quality of the food and beverages sold through vending machines. Recent studies have indicated that providing new healthy-options-only vending machines can meet satisfaction levels among the public and additionally plays a role in shaping healthy habits. I want to share the importance of why improving food choices can benefit your community.

Throughout the country recreation departments are increasingly promoting and implementing obesity and chronic disease prevention programs. It is important to continue to lead by example and not contradict healthy policies by selling candy, chips, soda or other unhealthy foods on your property or programs. According to the webinar, improving the nutritional value of foods and beverages available on public property is a lower-cost public healthy strategy that is being pursued all across the country. By creating a universal model that promotes a healthy and balanced lifestyle, agencies can contribute to healthier public behaviors, shape social norms, increase the access to healthier options, and ultimately provide a supportive network.

Additionally, there has been an increase in consumers requesting healthier options. A recent study conducted by the Snacks Food Association showed that 74% of consumers are trying to eat healthier, and 65% are eating specific foods to lose weight. Policies are starting to be implemented by different states who are improving healthier choices on some or all of their public property or through their programs. Policies vary, some are officially accomplished by executive order or legislation, or unofficially accepted through the means of contract work. Official or not, it is the step in the right direction with providing improved food and beverage options among the community.

How can you make changes in your own community? Our Healthy Vending Policies page provides healthy vending guidelines and options for your department. Offering healthier options in vending machines is a great opportunity to have healthier food in your park and recreation facilities year-round. Most vending machines are operated by a contractor, so the main responsibility in implementing policy change is developing healthy food guidelines, along with locating a vendor that is willing to provide healthier options.To see how your peers in NC are implementing healthy vending and concessions you can watch our webinar from June 24thpresented by Cabarrus County Active Living and Parks on healthy vending:

If you have any policy ideas concerning healthy vending, then please email us or submit them on the wellness site here: (,

Lastly, our next webinar is set for Wednesday, December 10that 2:00pm.Dr. George Hess, professor in the Department of Forestry & Environmental Resources at NC State, will be sharing a recent study conducted using Raleigh's Capital Area Greenway System called What’s on Your Greenway? The research took place during the months of February & March 2014, analyzing how people were using the Greenway System, and what plants and wildlife are in the area. This effort is a collaboration among NC State students, Raleigh Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources, the Nature Research Center of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences and Wake Nature Preserves Partnership.The webinar will discuss why it is important for parks and recreation departments to understand why people are using greenways, and how it can contribute to the increase usage of park systems. Link is provided to register below.

Registration Web Link:



Colleen Dougherty
Graduate Assistant,NC Recreation & Park Association
883 Washington St, Raleigh, NC27605


North Carolina Recreation and Park Association
883 Washington St, Raleigh, NC 27506

The NCRPA Wellness Bulletin is supported by
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation
whose mission is to improve the health and well-beingof North Carolinians.