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Centres for Disease Control has recognized NAMA’s Fit Pick program


April 1, 2009
By Canadian Vending

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April 1, 2009 – One of the nation’s most prestigious public health organizations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC) has recognized the National Automatic Merchandising Association’s (NAMA) Fit Pick program.

One of the nation’s most prestigious public health organizations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC) has recognized the National Automatic Merchandising Association’s (NAMA) Fit Pick program, writing about it in the latest issue of its “Preventing Chronic Disease, Public Health Research, Practice and Policy” publication, NAMA President and CEO Richard M. Geerdes, NCE announced today.  The remarks were published in a special editorial written by Alyssa Easton, PhD, MPH, Director, Healthy Communities Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and appear in the April issue of the publication. 

When told about the positive comments about the Fit Pick program Geerdes said, “We’re delighted that that the CDC’s Director of Healthy Community Programs found our program to be successful.  When we launched Fit Pick nationally in conjunction with Clark County Washington last year we truly wanted to make a difference in helping people to better understand how different choices fit into a balanced diet, and it’s exciting to see that our work is making a difference.”  

The article, “Public-Private Partnerships and Public Health Practice in the 21st Century:  Looking Back at the Experience of the Steps Program,” evaluated the success of the Steps program, which was created in 2003.  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.

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The article stated…

“Another successful public-private partnership for improving health community-wide was established between the Clark County Steps Program in Washington and the National Automatic Merchandising Association.  The National Fit Pick Vending Program helps consumers select healthy choices from vending machines.  Fit Pick uses standardized sets of nutrition guidelines based on American Heart Association recommendations for a healthy diet and is available to vending operators nationwide.  The identification system is designed to be recognizable to consumers throughout the country.  To support the program, the Clark county Steps Program developed step-by-step tool kits and print-ready promotional materials for vendors, work sites, schools and communities.  The nation’s vending industry unveiled the new health-oriented vending program with the support of the Clark County Steps Program in April, 2008.”

Jim Brinton, NCE, NAMA Chairman of the Board of Directors and owner of Evergreen Vending, one of the companies instrumental in implementing the Fit Pick program in Clark County said, “We were delighted to work with Clark County to spearhead this effort and are pleased that all of our hard work is being recognized nationally as an important contribution toward improving the health of consumers everywhere.”

The NAMA Fit Pick program includes two nutrition standard choices, and each 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. 

In speaking about all the partnerships, including the one with NAMA, the article says, “Given the tremendous chronic disease burden faced by local communities across the country, these nontraditional partnerships, by thinking outside the box, serve to improve community – and individual –level health and provide renewed hope for bringing about positive change.”

The article concluded, “As evidenced by diverse examples and experiences from Steps Program collaborations with private-sector partners, these relationships and the innovative activities they spark are not only the possibilities of successful approaches to improving health but also their realization.  Together, these partnerships represent a 21st century public health approach – one guided not only by evidence but also by nontraditional alliances – that can begin to turn the tide on chronic disease.”

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.  Even better, now we have evidence that it works.”

For more information or to order Fit Pick materials visit 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.