Chicago Park District Adopts Healthy Vending Policy: Machines Unveiled as Part of Citywide Rollout



The Chicago Park District and Parkways Foundation, its nonprofit partner, will be joined by the Chicago Department of Public Health; the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC); the Chicago Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Partnership; and corporate partners in unveiling the first of their new snack vending machines tomorrow, Aug. 30 at the wellness center program at Humboldt Park, 1400 N. Sacramento Ave., at 11 a.m.

These new machines will be completely stocked with only healthy snacks. Compass Group USA, Inc. has installed about 20 machines and will have a total of 96 installed within citywide field houses by the end of the year. The new nutritional standards for the snacks in the vending machines include limitations on calories, sodium, fat and sugar per serving. There is also at least one gluten/peanut free item available in each machine.

The healthy vending policy states that all foods served at Chicago Park District functions must meet certain nutritional requirements. Both park staff and patrons will be educated on this policy change and Information will be distributed and posted at every Chicago Park District location.

“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,” said interim Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO Mike Kelly.

The Chicago Park District is one of a dozen city agencies on the Inter-Departmental Task Force on Childhood Obesity, a City of Chicago task force convened by the Chicago Department of Public Health and facilitated by the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC). These groups are also members of the Chicago Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Partnership, a four-year grant funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation working to reverse childhood obesity. The National Policy & Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity provided technical assistance to the partnership to support the healthy vending initiative.

“We applaud the Chicago Park District for taking this significant step in improving the nutritional health of Chicago kids and families,” said Dr. Adam Becker, CLOCC Executive Director. “With childhood obesity prevalence in Chicago at nearly twice the national average, it is important that we make healthy options more available and accessible to Chicagoans wherever they live, work, learn, and play.”

“In some lower-income communities, people have had limited exposure to healthy snacks,” says Lucy Gomez-Feliciano, director of the Chicago Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Partnership. “We want people to see that healthier snacks can taste good.”

The healthy vending policy stemmed from the wellness center programs that are offered at six parks citywide. These programs are completely privately funded through the generosity of the Abbott Fund, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, Bank of America and Walmart Foundation. The wellness centers offer programs and amenities for the whole family to get active and learn about overall health and well being.

The Chicago Park District wellness center programs have brought awareness of the vending policy to the citywide level by working in partnership with the Inter-Departmental Task Force on Childhood Obesity, the communities and advisory councils. The private funding behind the wellness center programs allowed for nutrition-focused classes to educate both staff and participants about healthy choices through such exercises as informed label reading.


For more information about the Chicago Park District’s more than 8,100 acres of parkland, 580 parks, 26 miles of lakefront, 10 museums, two world-class conservatories, 16 historic lagoons, 10 bird and wildlife gardens, thousands of special events, sports and entertaining programs, please visit or contact the Chicago Park District at 312/742.PLAY or 312/747.2001 (TTY). Want to share your talent? Volunteer in the parks by calling 312/742.PLAY.

Parkways Foundation invests in Chicago’s parks to enrich communities through historic preservation, environmental initiatives, capital projects and youth/family programs. Parkways is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to working with the Chicago Park District in a true public/private partnership.

For more information about the Chicago Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Partnership, click here or call 773-384-4370.

For more information on CLOCC, visit or call 312-573-7760.

  • Contact Phone: 312.742.7529
  • Publication Date: 08/29/11

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