At CPEHN, we employ a “health in all policies” strategy for creating healthier environments that can advance health equity for California’s communities of color. One of the key goals of this strategy is to increase access to healthy foods, particularly in communities with fewer grocery stores and more fast food restaurants.
While it may seem minor, offering healthy options in vending machines is a significant part of a strategy to improve access to healthy food. State and local governments have considerable purchasing power, particularly in regards to vending machines. In its 2010 report, the Strategic Growth Council’s Health in all Policies Task Force recommended that government spending should be leveraged to support healthy eating and sustainable local food systems. In particular, the Task Force offered the following suggestions for healthy food procurement policies to ensure that foods purchased on public property meets minimum nutrition standards: