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Nation's Vending Industry Unveils New Health Oriented Vending Program:
Date:4/16/2008

Clark County Washington First in Nation to Embrace the Vending Industry's

New 'Fit Pick' Program

CHICAGO, April 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The nation's vending industry will unveil tomorrow a new nationwide health oriented vending program in Clark County, Washington, National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) President Richard M. Geerdes, NCE announced today. The new program, called "Fit Pick(TM)," includes a host of vending materials designed to educate consumers about products that meet specific nutritional standards, and is being launched in Clark County by Community Choices and the Steps to a Healthier Clark County Initiative (Steps).

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080416/NEW021LOGO )

In discussing the Fit Pick program and the Clark County partnership, NAMA President and CEO Richard M. Geerdes, NCE, said, "This is the first truly nationwide and industry-wide comprehensive program we're aware of. It demonstrates how committed the vending industry is to listening to our consumers and to be in the vanguard of those providing practical and common sense solutions to the nation's growing concern about health and wellness issues."
The NAMA Fit Pick program includes two nutrition standard choices:

-- Fit Pick Standard - Products that are less than 35% fat, less than 10%

saturated fat, and less than 35% total weight in sugar with nuts and

seeds excluded;

-- The Alliance for a Healthier Generation Standard - This standard begins

with the 35-10-35 guidelines mentioned above, but adds caps on sodium,

trans-fat, and calories.

Each Fit Pick package provides all the materials necessary to implement that particular standard. The program includes stickers that can be placed in front of qualifying products, thin clings that explain the nutrition standard, coin slot stickers and round stickers to help educate consumers, and a list of products that meet the specified nutrition standard. In addition to the materials created by NAMA, the Clark County team created a website, machine top signs, posters, postcards, table tents, and a 65-page toolkit for vending companies and consumer sites.

The Clark County initiative includes local worksites, schools, government agencies, food distributors and the four largest vending operators in the area. The team was facilitated by the Steps to a Healthier Clark County Initiative (Steps) and Community Choices, a Clark County-based non-profit, advocacy group for healthy communities.

"We are very pleased that the work of our local team will benefit not only our community, but can potentially help other organizations and communities across the country," states Barbe West, executive director of Community Choices. "The Fit Pick site and materials provide a complete, cost-effective, step-by-step roadmap for organizations, communities, or vending operators that want to incorporate healthier options in the vending machines, but don't know how or where to start."

Fit Pick is the latest health and wellness tool created by NAMA as part of its Balanced for Life national health and wellness initiative. Launched in 2005, the campaign is designed to address the nation's rising obesity rates by educating people about the elements of a balanced diet and the importance of physical activity.

Concluded Geerdes, "Across the country, organizations are looking to integrate health and wellness into their vending programs, but typically they have no idea where to begin or how to do it. Our Fit Pick program is easy to use and can help anyone with vending machines promote products that meet specific nutrition guidelines. We applaud Clark Country for showing such initiative on this project, and for working so hard to improve the health of its citizens."

For more information or to order Fit Pick materials visit http://www.fitpick.org.

NAMA is the national trade association of the food and refreshment vending, coffee service and foodservice management industries including on- site, commissary, catering, & mobile. Its membership is comprised of service companies, equipment manufacturers and suppliers of products and services to operating service companies. The basic mission of the association, to collectively advance and promote the automatic merchandising and coffee service industries, still guides NAMA today as it did in 1936, the year of the organization's founding.

Community Choices, a non-profit organization in Clark County, Washington, is a catalyst for healthy communities. As an advocacy organization, Community Choices plays a unique and critical role -- to listen and use data, and engage and mobilize others to drive long-term, sustainable change that will improve the health of our community and the quality of life for all residents. Learn more about Community Choices and review the most recent Community Report Card at http://www.clarkcommunitychoices.org or call (360)567-1067.

Steps to a Healthier Clark County -- Fiscal Year 2008 marks Community Choices' final year of administering a five-year Steps to a HealthierUS grant. Funding comes from the Steps to a HealthierUS Cooperative Agreement which is a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) program advancing the goal of helping Americans live longer, better and healthier lives. Steps supports best-practice, community-based interventions, and advocates for appropriate changes to public policy and organizational practice in order to reduce the burden of diabetes, obesity and asthma, by addressing three related risk factors -- poor nutrition, physical inactivity and tobacco use and exposure. For more information about Steps to a Healthier Clark County, please visit http://www.stepstoahealthierclarkco.org or call (360) 567-1067.


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SOURCE National Automatic Merchandising Association
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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