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Calorie-conscious vending might come to Ohio State campus

Daniel Chi / Asst. photo editor

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Within the next year, tallying liquid calories could get much easier.
A new initiative called the Calories Count Vending Program, which provides calorie information on vending machines, according to a press release by the American Beverage Association, could soon come to Ohio.
The program aims to encourage lower-calorie beverage choices in an effort to reduce the rising obesity rate in America, according to the press release.
The program is scheduled to start out in Chicago and San Antonio, and then spread to different areas of the country beginning in 2013.
There is an effort to get this program to college campuses and towns nationwide, but Christopher Gindlesperger, senior director of public affairs for the American Beverage Association, said it will take some time due to the third party contracts vending machines have with other companies to distribute soda in their respective towns.  
The vending machines will have calorie labels on the machines to show calorie counts per beverage, according to the release.
“I think it’s an excellent idea putting the calories up front since the consumers can see what they’re consuming,” said Carolyn Gunther, an assistant professor of human nutrition at Ohio State.
Gunther said she thinks the initiative would be good for college students who don’t always eat healthy.
“College students are nutritionally at risk since they have a low diet quality, and being away from their parents, those healthier food options aren’t present,” said Gunther, who also called the program “a step in the right direction.”
Customers choose meals that are low in calories when nutritional facts are given with the meals, according to a study done by Gail Kaye, an assistant professor in the College of Public Health. The study concluded that without nutritional facts, people select meals that are high in calories.
Ayat Aldoori, a first-year graduate student in human nutrition, said this logic can apply to beverages in vending machines.
“It’s a great idea, I think that the calorie information could cause people to make healthier choices, maybe instead of purchasing a Coca-Cola they can get a Diet Coke,” Aldoori said.

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