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Hempstead removes unhealthy snacks in camp vending machines

Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney, center, shows off new

Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney, center, shows off new vending machines at Camp Anchor in Lido Beach on Feb. 20, 2018. Credit: John Roca

The Town of Hempstead has unveiled new vending machines at Camp Anchor that replace unhealthy foods with better alternatives, officials said.

The new snack options at the town-owned camp in Lido Beach feature smaller portions of typical vending machine snacks, such as Doritos, and food that contains less sodium, such as popcorn and granola bars.

“Heart disease is the number one cause of death in America,” Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney said on Wednesday. “So we want to do the few things we can to make an impact and give Hempstead residents healthy alternatives.”

King Sweeney announced that the vending machines at Camp Anchor are part of a larger project to replace all of the town’s vending machines, which should be completed by June. They will be placed in various locations, such as town hall and other town buildings and parks.

According to the American Heart Association, which the town worked with to plan the new guidelines, snacks must have fewer than 200 calories, 7 grams of saturated fat, 200 mg of sodium, 10 grams of sugar and contain at least 2 grams of fiber in order to be considered healthy.

The town will also replace sodas with flavored water and seltzer, as well as milk or milk-alternative drinks, and 100 percent fruit juices. Vending machines must include at least 50 percent healthy snacks or beverages to be considered “heart healthy,” according to the heart association.

Camp Anchor is a year-round program serving 1,200 children and adults in the town with special needs. Members of Camp Anchor can participate in a six-week summer camp program or in specialized programs during the school year.

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