Machine delivers healthful advice

Jan 11 2012 - 1:02am

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Jamie Lampros/Standard-Examiner correspondent
A vending machine at McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden appears to be full of junk food, from chips to chocolate, but it’s all fake.
Jamie Lampros/Standard-Examiner correspondent
A vending machine at McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden appears to be full of junk food, from chips to chocolate, but it’s all fake.

OGDEN -- Stand Carley Jones in front of a vending machine, and she'll go for the chocolate every time.

But her last attempt didn't deliver what she was expecting.

Instead of getting a chocolate candy bar, the 17-year-old Northridge High School student got a verbal message from the machine warning her the candy bar was loaded with sugar and may even wreak havoc on her digestive system.

"Well, that's not what I was expecting," she said. "But it was very funny and very informative."

The vending machine at McKay-Dee Hospital is full of junk food, from chips to chocolate. It all looks real, but the products are actually fake.

The machine takes no money. When you push the button for the food you would have selected, you get a message about healthy eating.

For instance, instead of getting a bag of chips, the machine tells you that salt makes your body retain water. Not only that, but potatoes come from Idaho. Chips come from the deep fryer.

Want a bag of cheese puffs? The machine informs you that no one likes to kiss someone with cheese stuck in the sides of their mouth.

"It was really funny," said McKenzi Kendall, who along with her sisters, Nellie and Sydnee, tried to use the machine. "I went for the onion chips, and it told me not only to think about what it would do to my body but also my breath."

The vending machine is all part of Intermountain Healthcare's "LiVE" public service program, which encourages kids to eat healthy and be active, said LiVE spokeswoman Dr. Tamara Sheffield.

"According to recent studies, one out of every three American children is overweight," Sheffield said. "Our goal with the LiVE campaign is to approach this important issue from a child's point of view and offer positive, helpful solutions for families."

Sheffield said LiVE can help children be more physically active and make more healthy food choices.

"By coordinating with children, parents, schools and the medical community, we can reverse the direction this crisis is heading," she said.

The machine will begin touring the state, settling into schools, hospitals and other public venues.

"I think it would be cool if it came to our school," said Nellie Kendall. "I think the kids would really like it."

Sydnee Kendall agreed, saying, "It has good messages and helps you understand what's good and bad for your body."

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