Starting in 2013, San Antonio will be one two cities debuting new vending machines aimed at providing healthier beverages to consumers.
According to the American Beverage Association, San Antonio and Chicago will feature the first line of soda vending machines labeled with a prominently labeled calorie count, along with flashing messages asking consumers to think before they drink.
The program is an attempt by the association to get ahead of upcoming government regulations in the Affordable Care Act requiring calorie counts to become more visible. The idea is to make Americans pay closer attention to the calorie counts in what they consume, thereby improving heath (and lowering health care costs over time). The program comes after hamburger giant McDonald's began posting calorie counts on its menus.
New machines will also feature electronic displays reminding customers that “Calories Count.” The displays will also stream slogans like “Check then Choose,” and “Try a Low-Calorie Beverage.”
San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel have worked with the beverage association in an attempt to bring greater health awareness to their cities. In a statement, Mayor Castro said the initiative would make for a healthier River City:
"The most important aspect of any community is its quality of life, and one essential ingredient is healthy living. Everyone has a role to play in making our communities healthier. Here in San Antonio, we're proud to be working with the beverage industry on programs to help achieve that goal.”
A move to lower calorie drinks may be a good one for San Antonio citizens. In San Antonio, over 65 percent of adults and nearly 33 percent children ages 10 to 17 are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control.