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Feature Article - September 2008

An Apple a Day

Expanding Concessions to Include Healthy Options

By Richard Zowie

Whether you're a attending school or a sporting event, once the hunger pains hit, various images come to mind. A juicy cheeseburger. A chili dog loaded with cheese and relish. A heaping plate of tortilla chips drowned in nacho cheese sauce and jalapeņo peppers. Potato chips. French fries.

Perhaps it's best to exercise a little caution when indulging in such mouth-watering delights. Medical research from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AAC&AP) offers sobering statistics:

  • Between 16 and 33 percent of American children and adolescents are obese.
  • The annual cost to society for obesity is estimated at almost $100 billion.
  • Overweight children are much more likely to become overweight adults unless they make permanent, healthy changes to the way they eat and exercise.

To manage obesity, the academy suggests weight management, changing eating habits, limiting snacking, controlling portions and consuming fewer calories, increasing physical activity and practicing better food selections.

This last suggestion reverberates for many—whether they are schools, colleges or concessions professionals. For schools, it means the introduction of healthier concessions—both in the cafeteria and at sporting events. For colleges, while healthy choices are certainly a part of the menu, the emergence of juice bars has provided students with liquid concoctions to provide health benefits. For concessions companies, there's been a trend in slowly incorporating healthier foods onto menus.

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