[Guest post by DRJ]
San Antonio is predominantly Hispanic and obesity is especially high among Hispanics. On the other hand, San Antonio’s City Manager is into fitness and doesn’t like high-calorie soft drinks and candies, so she ordered the removal of those items from city-run vending machines:
“City Manager Sheryl Sculley has declared war on sugar.
Well, at least when it comes packaged in cans and candy bars. Sugary sodas no longer have a home in the city’s 250 beverage vending machines and unhealthy foods in the 75 snack machines in city facilities are next.
“I asked the staff to remove the high-calorie soda drinks from our vending machines,” Sculley said. “I’m a fitness person, and I care about our employees, and I want them to be healthy. And I think this is a very small gesture.”
The beverage machines now contain water, juices and diet drinks.
Sculley said the policy aligns with the city’s wellness program, instituted three years ago.
“We know that statistically that people who are overweight or obese have greater health problems than those who do not,” she said. “We’re about educating community and we think we can lead by example.”
Restricting choices = Education? Sculley missed her calling in public school administration, and this education professor seems to approve:
“To help instill better habits, setting a policy can help, said Lisako McKyer, a professor in Texas A&M University’s College of Education and Human Development.
She expects some resistance, but said such regulations can help the health and safety of society. She points to seat belt laws, restricted alcohol sales, smoking bans and sidewalk installations that all have shown to decrease injuries and deaths.
“Any time you want to institute a behavior change, policy changes are really quite effective,” she said.”
The article says the policy “doesn’t ban employees from consuming fatty foods and drinks at work.” At least, not for now.