Newest nutrition tool: Fake vending machines

Machines offer health advice instead of snacks.

A healthcare group in Utah plans to outfit schools with vending machines that dispense nutrition advice instead of the promised candy, cookies and chips.

The full-sized machines look like regular vending devices, with realistic-looking foods on display, according to Intermountain Healthcare, a diversified healthcare provider with more than 200 facilities and 900 physicians. But when a child presses a button for an item, the youngster hears a taped message instead of getting the snacks: “How about you run to the grocery store and pick up some fresh fruit or something?  You could use a healthy snack and the run wouldn't hurt, either."

One of at least three different messages are delivered.

“Our goal with the LiVe campaign is to approach this important issue from a child's point of view and offer positive, helpful solutions for families," said Intermountain's Dr. Tamara Sheffield.

The company did not say how many of the bogus machines it would distribute.