Childhood Obesity: 3 Arguments for Healthy Vending Machines

In the last 30 years, childhood obesity has tripled in the United States, and if no action is taken today’s children will be the first generation in recorded history to be less healthy than their parents. Hundreds of lifestyle and culture changes have combined to effect this change, and hundreds of action steps will need to be taken to combat it. One important step should happen in schools. Many children eat two meals a day at school, and many more eat at least one. They deserve the best, and schools are just starting to understand that.

While some districts are completely overhauling their school lunch program – Boulder, Colorado among them – others don’t have the resources to make such big changes so fast. Installing healthy vending machines can solve both problems at once: a substantial and immediate change that generates revenue for bigger changes down the road. What’s more, healthy vending machines in schools can help students build life-long habits and learn about healthy lifestyles.

Choosing the Right Snacks

Along with hot lunches, most schools offer a number of other snack options to students via vending machines and snack bars. This is to help the school make money, but should such enterprises be done at the cost of student health? Nachos, candy bars, and cookies are hardly fair for lunch, but kids don’t know any better; when given the option, they go for what tastes good. Even adults are guilty of that, so no one would expect more self-denial from kids. However, recent brain research suggests that even into the teen years the frontal lobe – the part of the brain that regulates self-control and judgment – is being re-structured and developed. That means it is even harder for young people to resist the urge to have a candy bar than it is for an average adult. Therefore, it is even more critical that responsible grown-ups make important choices for students that will help them eat right now and learn to choose to do so in the future.

A healthy vending machine in the school building is one way to start that process. Filled completely with nutritious options, kids can learn that “healthy” doesn’t mean “gross” and can find themselves coming to enjoy the taste and effects of fueling their bodies with something substantial. That is a lesson that will pay dividends for the rest of their lives.

Multi-Media Health Education

Today’s youth are a technology generation, and no doubt about it. Texting, gaming, social networking, and YouTubing all comprise the language kids speak, however foreign that language is to parents. To educate them effectively, anyone with a message for students needs to communicate in a way they understand. No one would guess a vending machine could do that.

Some innovative healthy vending machines include LCD screens that come with educational information both on the snacks in the machine and on healthy tips in general. With state-of-the-art technology and bold graphics, these machines market themselves to young people, but instead of deceiving consumers into buying something they don’t need, they encourage them to make the best possible choice when it comes to snacking at school.

Generating Profit for Extra-Curricular Activities

The LCD screens also serve as valuable advertisement space that can be sold to augment even more the profit of owning a vending machine. The reason why many schools have soda machines and snack machines in spite of the obvious health concerns is they are so lucrative that administrators feel it is worth the risk of childhood obesity in order to avoid cutting back already tight budgets on opportunities kids need. How much better to retain the profit and encourage student health? In fact, those extra curricular activities that need the funds are often exactly the same ones that get kids exercising and socializing – the ones that teach them how to live healthy lives outside of school as well as in it. Who knew a vending machine could be so powerful?

However valuable such an investment will be, it still might be a hard sell at the beginning. Working with a trusted vending franchise that specializes in health-food machines is important to avoid mistakes that lead to unsuccessful experiences. For instance, if a Snickers bar is sold next to a granola bar, it’s rare that a teenager will be able to resist the former. In fact, having unhealthy snacks available at all, even in another machine, will lead to smaller profit margins than if only nutritious options are presented. That’s just common sense, remembering the under-developed frontal lobe of adolescents and children. On the other hand, if someone’s hungry for a little something and they look into a window that offers pita chips next to vitamin water next to whole grain honey graham sticks, something is bound to look tasty. If a district is interested in going healthy, it’s going to be a commitment. The process of throwing out old junk food habits and creating new one may take a while, but it’s worth it.

Your kids will thank you.

Property Investment in Hurghada

Over the course of the past two years, there has been a shift of emphasis from investors away from the more traditional property markets throughout Europe to destinations further afield. At the forefront of this change of investment interest is the tourist hotspot of Egypt, and in particular the popular Red Sea resort of Hurghada.

The large increases in visitor numbers to this beautiful resort have changed the once sleepy fishing village into one of the Red Seas most popular tourist destinations, complete with a wide range of leisure activities and luxury hotels. Popular with a wide variety of tourists, large numbers visit Hurghada every year, ranging from travelling backpackers through to the most experienced of scuba divers. All keen to sample the delights of this stunning Red Sea coastal region.

The recent development to Hurghada has fortunately extended through to its infrastructure, and today the region is served by the modern international airport. Increasing number of low cost operators have also announced direct flights to Hurghada, which only bodes well for the tourism and investment opportunities within the region.

It should also be noted, that the recent economic crisis, and the subsequent currency fluctuations which have followed, are likely to bear fruit for Egypt’s expanding tourism market. Holidaymakers from the UK, one of Europe’s largest package holiday markets, have seen the traditional Mediterranean holiday destinations become increasingly expensive due to the relative strength of the Euro against Sterling. As such, non-euro destinations such as Egypt become increasingly attractive in recent months. Similarly, tourists from major western European destinations are likely to be buoyed by the new found buying power of their Euro are more likely to make trips abroad.

This expansion in the market for tourism in Egypt has not gone unnoticed by the major property developers in the Middle East and Europe, and already a number of major developments such as Gamsha Bay have been announced for the Red Sea region. As well the major projects, a number of high quality, smaller projects have also been announced within Hurghada itself which will provide an effective range of options for property investors interested in buying a property in Hurghada.

As well as the opportunities through the expansion of Egypt’s tourism industry, investors have also been encouraged by the relatively low price of property in the region, providing an excellent opportunity for capital growth over the coming years. Current estimate are placing these growth rates in the region of 20% per annum for the next five years, a rate not found throughout many of the more traditional property investment markets.

Without doubt, Egypt, and in particular Hurghada with its beautiful beaches and scenery, offer a strong economic argument for investing in property in the region. It is likely that we will see an increased level of interest in the region over the course of the next few years.