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Park District To Unveil Healthy Vending Machines

Chicago Park District

(Credit: Chicago Park District/CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Park District on Tuesday is unveiling the first of a new line of healthy vending machines planned for all of its field houses.

As WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, the policy of the Park District says all foods served at all district functions should be healthy.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

“As part of our commitment to supporting healthy lifestyles for Chicagoans, we are proud to be a leader in setting policy that can serve as a national model for combatting obesity, beginning with what patrons find when they’re in our facilities,” interim Park District General Supt. Mike Kelly said in a news release.

The new vending machines being introduced by the district stock only foods that are limited in calories, as well as sodium, fat and sugar.

The contractor Compass Group has installed 20 of the healthier machines, and plans to have 96 installed in all park field houses citywide by year’s end.

The company says in addition to healthy fare, each vending machine will have one gluten-free and peanut-free item. People suffering from celiac disease cannot digest or tolerate gluten, and peanut allergies can be deadly for some.

Lucy Gomez-Feliciano, director of the Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities partnership, says people in some lower-income communities often have little access to healthy snacks. She says people need to see that healthier foods taste good too.

The first new vending machines will be unveiled at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the wellness center program at Humboldt Park, 1400 N. Sacramento Ave.