DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in every five American kids is obese, three times more than just 30 years ago. In a world of fast food restaurants and vending machines, a local company is trying to bring healthy alternatives to the community, starting with area schools.

At the Academy of Dallas Charter School, students love buying snacks from the vending machine. But these ones are a little bit different. “It’s like, good for you,” said student Jamie Lopez. “Helps you have more energy and helps us be healthy in school.”

School officials recently put the new vending machine in the cafeteria as part of a healthy eating initiative. “We have growing concerns about what our students are eating, with childhood obesity, juvenile diabetes,” explained Principal Ross Williams. “So, we wanted to bring something into the school that gets students moving and teaches them appropriate eating habits.”

Wallace Wright II and Lori Wright are the first franchise owners of Fresh Healthy Vending in Dallas County, the company offering these healthier vending machines. “When we installed the machine, we had a kid joke, ‘What’s going in there, apples and oranges?’ And we laughed,” Lori recalled, “because kids don’t realize when you snack, it’s still snacks, but it’s so healthy.”

The options are similar to what one might find in a more traditional vending machine. But unlike the unhealthy options, these alternatives have no artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. And the ingredients are all natural. “All organic, gluten-free products. All the products are just better for you,” said Wallace Wright II. “It’s going in schools, businesses all throughout the City of Dallas.”

“I think this will be huge for Dallas to have these options in our schools, hospitals, gyms,” added Lori Wright. “It’s just really important for our community.”

The new vending machines are already a hit with students, who realize that changing their eating habits now will have lasting benefits when they are older. “It’s actually better,” said Lopez.

“It also tastes really good,” said student Stephanie Fiscal. “My mom said the same thing, because I used to eat a lot of junk food. And she says if you start early, you won’t be able to stop later on.”

If students can drop bad habits now, replacing them with good ones, school officials are hopeful they will see a similar drop in obesity.

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