The Iowa Department of Public Health has teamed with the Iowa State University Extension to develop a Nutrition Environment Measures Survey that evaluates the nutritional value of vending machine foods and beverages. Washington County Public Health Nurse Lynn Fisher says this rating system is being used to help people make better choices when it comes to buying snacks. She says they will be marked with a green, yellow and red system to rate the items in the vending machine according to the nutrition they provide.
Fisher mentions the state Department of Public health was awarded a $112,500 grant from the Wellmark Foundation to implement the vending machine policy. The machines will be in state-owned buildings, rest areas, and state parks.
Fisher says at least 30 percent of food and beverage choices will have to meet the yellow or green criteria. She notes the project is intended to be used as a model for other businesses across the state.