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Healthy eating project launched in local leisure centres

Healthy Vending Machines

A healthy eating project is encouraging visitors to local leisure centres to stock up on healthier food and drinks by installing a new range of vending machines.

The project is a joint initiative between the Health Improvement Service at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, Durham County Council and Northumbria Water.

Michelle Speed, Health Improvement Specialist for the NHS Trust explains: "Our role is to improve the health and wellbeing of the public through a range of programmes that serve the community. We have been working with a range of partners to make healthy eating choices easier for people from antenatal mums through to older people.

"Our leisure centre project is based around the 'Change 4 Life' programme and encourages the community to swap unhealthy snacks for healthier alternatives. "We know that parents can sometimes come under pressure from their children about what they like to eat and therefore we are trying to make it easier for parents to make healthier choices while out with their children in the community.

"The new vending machines will stock snacks including nuts and seeds, healthier biscuits and baked crisps instead of fried. We worked with local schools in the area to gather ideas from children and young people on what they would like to see and by having the vending machines within leisure centres families will be able to combine healthy eating with being active."

The project is initially going to be launched in two leisure centres within County Durham - Woodhouse Close in Bishop Auckland and Sunnydale Leisure Centre in Shildon. It is hoped the project will then be rolled out across all leisure centres within the County.

Photographed:  Michelle Speed, Health Improvement Specialist.

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