Livewell asks ‘Should council-run leisure centres offer a broader portfolio of snacks? ‘

Is it time for our local councils to step up to the mark and offer a broader portfolio of healthy snacks, giving more choice to consumers? Here at Livewell, we often hear from parents who are frustrated at the lack of choice available to them in vending machines at leisure centres. Whilst appreciating the occasional indulgence of a treat, parents don’t necessarily always want to give their children a chocolate bar or bag of crisps after their weekly swimming session.  The keyword we often hear is ‘choice’; parents would like the option for their children to choose a more healthy alternative and feel that council-run facilities aren’t meeting their needs.

The latest available figures from The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) estimate that almost 19% of Year 6 children are obese and a further 14% are overweight. Since Jamie Oliver first alerted the nation to the plight of school meals, huge progress has been made in the education sector, with nutritious school dinners now on offer as well as healthy drinks options. Livewell thrived in the post Jamie Oliver era, and has spent the past five years providing healthy drinks to schools. It seems ironic that between the hours of 9-3, initiatives and legislation mean our children are offered nutritious food options but once the bell goes, the emphasis on healthy eating choices seems to be left at the school gates.

As schools empty at the end of the day, children across the country head off to leisure centres to take part in after-school sports activities. After their swimming sessions, football training or gymnastics classes, children will need to refuel and with council run cafes closed at the end of the day, they turn to vending machines. Why are local councils not picking up on the needs of consumers and offering a wider range of vending options? In addition to the chocolate treats now on offer, we’d suggest offering an alternative to children and their parents. Our four ‘Stations’ and Small Space Coffee Shop offer a range of choices: from porridge-based products and fruit and nut mixes in our Healthy Station to mixed seed energy bars in our Active Station.

The message to our children about eating healthily need to be consistent and joined-up. It can’t be left at the school gates. Local councils – as well as parents – need to step up and offer a broader range of snacks enabling children to make informed diet choices now and in the future.

To talk to us today about this and any other vending requirement, please contact Liz Hines, Business Manager on:  Tel: 01423 876352 

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