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by Cindy Abole
Public Relations
Stoplite vending breaks for healthy choices

The MUSC family, patients and visitors now have a choice when it comes to healthy eating, especially as it relates to snack vending machine sales at the Medical University Hospital’s cafeteria.
As of Oct. 1, two snack vending machines in the cafeteria area began featuring color-coded, healthy food selections. Dietetic Internship Program and Dietetic Services adopted the “Stoplite dining” campaign in 2007 to promote healthy food choices during breakfast and lunch in the  hospital’s cafeteria. This pilot program focuses on nutrition and aids people to make healthy selections using stoplight color choices—green, yellow and red—to identify food items.
Jaydn James, 8, selects a healthy fruit snack from the Medical University Hospital cafeteria vending machine.

“We wanted to target vending areas because they are always busy, 24/7,” said Janet Carter, outpatient dietitian, Heart Health program coordinator. “People need to pay more attention specifically to food labels and know the total calories, saturated fat, salt, sugar, food ingredients and serving size in packaged foods before making their selections. Many will be very surprised.”
Vendors will stock both machines with a variety of healthy choice (green) foods such as granola bars, pretzels, animal crackers, fruit snacks, reduced-fat cookies, gum and mints. Items (yellow) denote choices recommended for two to three  servings a day. They include baked chips, Rice Crispy treats and peanuts. Stop (red) items recommend only two to three servings per week and feature chips, crackers, candy and pastries. As part of the project, unhealthy items will display a $.05 surchange added to item. The surcharge will go to the Children’s Hospital’s Heart Health program, a program which treats  children who are at-risk for hypertension, obesity and other metabolic disorders.
Following the pilot period, coordinators plan to extend the healthy choice program to all snack vending machines throughout campus. According to Carter, the “Go for the Green” program will eventually be applied to drink machines.

Friday, Oct. 17, 2008

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.