Vineland makes healthier food more accessible with new vending policy

Vineland Healthy Vending Presentation
Members of the Vineland City Council accept a plaque from the American Heart Association for their efforts to improve healthy food accessibility in the City of Vineland. From right to left: Vineland Councilman Ronald Franceschini, Jr., Council Vice President David Acosta, Council President Paul Spinelli, American Heart Association Government Relations Director Corinne Orlando, Councilwoman Dr. Elizabeth Arthur and Councilman Albert Vargas.

The American Heart Association congratulates the City of Vineland for adopting a healthy vending policy. Vineland is one of the first municipalities in the state to enact a healthy vending policy.

The policy, which took effect on October 1, 2019, will bring healthier options to vending machines on city property, making healthy food consumption more readily available to municipal employees and more than 60,000 city residents.

“We applaud the City of Vineland for taking steps to bringing healthier food options to its municipal employees and residents,” stated Corinne Orlando, Director of Government Relations for the American Heart Association New Jersey. “A healthy diet is key to helping reduce risk for chronic diseases, including heart disease and stroke.”

Vineland is a community which suffers from low access to healthy foods. Moreover, almost 27% of community members with low income have low access to healthy foods. The community lacks supermarkets and residents rely on other food sources including corner stores, bodegas, food pantries and vending machines, among others.

The policy, which was a collaborative effort between the American Heart Association,  the Vineland Department of Health, Vineland City Council and Vineland Business Administrator, would impact approximately 7-10 vending machines on municipal properties including, but not limited to, City Hall, Vineland Library and Police and Fire stations.

“We are excited to work with the American Heart Association on this effort to include healthier options throughout our municipality’s vending machines,” said Emma Lopez, Assistant Health Officer, Vineland Department of Health. “This is just one step toward making healthier foods more accessible to our residents and city employees.”

The policy meets the Association’s recommended standards for healthy food options, as noted in the Healthy Workplace Food and Beverage Toolkit. The toolkit offers an action plan for updating vending machines that are compliant with nutrition standards, including serving size, calories, sodium and sugar content and amount of trans and saturated fats.

Promoting healthier food options could help reduce obesity and diet-related illnesses which will lead to a healthier community. It can also help decrease health care costs. In Cumberland County, where the city of Vineland is located, nearly 36% of adults are obese, compared to 25% in New Jersey.

For more information on adopting a Healthy Vending policy in your town or workplace, check out the American Heart Association’s FREE online toolkit.

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