Today, Nov. 2, is National Eating Healthy Day and the American Heart Association wants lawmakers to help fight the current obesity epidemic in New York State by passing Healthy Vending legislation.
The New York State Healthy Vending Act, sponsored by state Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, D-The Bronx, would require vending machines in all state-owned or leased buildings to offer healthier food options. Right now, there are few, if any, healthy food and beverage options available in many public places, like parks, recreation centers, and other state buildings. As many people try to eat healthier, the demand for healthier options is increasing.
“What we eat and drink impacts our health, but we tend to eat what is easily available. Making healthy food and beverages available in public places lets children and families eat healthy, decreasing their risk for heart disease and diabetes,” said Dr. Paul Arciero, professor of health and exercise sciences at Skidmore College and member of the Capital Region Advisory Board of the American Heart Association. “With more than 9 million New Yorkers currently employed throughout the state, the workplace is a key environment for maintaining the health of the population through comprehensive worksite wellness programming and the promotion of a culture of health.”
“I have proposed the NYS Healthy Vending Act to promote an environment where visitors and employees in state-owned facilities are able to make a choice to eat healthy,” said Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection. “I encourage everyone to eat healthy on National Eating Healthy Day and throughout the year. Affording consumers a healthy option at the vending machine in place of the usually salty, fatty, and sugary options will no doubt promote a healthier New York.”
Six out of 10 adult New Yorkers— and one-third of the state’s children — are at serious risk for diet-related diseases, which can be influenced by unhealthy nutrition. States and localities spend money on nutrition education, wellness, and other disease prevention programs, and adding healthier food and beverages in public places would support those efforts. This would let children and families build healthier habits – and save appreciable health care costs in the future.
Studies show that healthier employees have higher workplace morale and lower healthcare costs. The American Heart Association hopes New York – as the government and an employer – will lead the way in making sure that people have access to the healthy food and beverages they want.
More and more people are interested in healthier snacks. According to a 2010 study by the Snack Food Association, about 74% of consumers are trying to eat healthier, with about 65% eating specific foods to lose weight. Sales of healthier snacks are outpacing traditional snack foods by 4 to 11 and contribute to increased sales growth and profits for food companies.
As the American Heart Association’s new +color campaign emphasizes, it’s important to BE COLORFUL. Because as the old saying goes, “you are what you eat.” On National Eating Healthy Day, and throughout the entire month of November, the Heart Association wants to remind New York residents that by adding more color to meals through fruits and vegetables, people can take simple yet significant steps to a more vibrant, healthier, longer life.
In an effort to improve the diet quality of 55 million Americans, the association’s +color campaign, is educating consumers on fruits and vegetables and the benefits each has to one’s health. Fruits and vegetables typically have more nutrients with fewer calories than other less-healthy food choices. Eating a colorful variety may help you prevent heart disease, stroke and other illnesses. National Eating Healthy Day and +color provide important resources that can help our community members make healthier changes to their diet as easy as possible.
“There’s proof in the research that preventive methods like healthy eating can increase survival rates from heart disease,” said Arciero. “It’s important to make those smart eating choices, like adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet each day, so that you can live a healthier life for you and your family.”
A free online toolkit is available for those interested in participating in National Eating Healthy Day. Resources include easy-to-do, fun activities for the entire family, community, school and workplace; ideas for motivating others to eat healthier; and a variety of delicious, colorful recipes. To download the toolkit and other NEHD resources, visit www.heart.org/eathealthy. You can also register for the American Heart Association’s Healthy For Good for additional healthy eating tips.
Our mission is to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. For nearly 100 years, we’ve been fighting heart disease and stroke, striving to save and improve lives. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer worldwide, and stroke ranks second globally. Even when those conditions don’t result in death, they cause disability and diminish quality of life. We want to see a world free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.