Evaluating the Potential Health and Revenue Outcomes of a 100% Healthy Vending Machine Nutrition Policy at a Large Agency in Los Angeles County, 2013-2015

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Abstract

Context:

Healthy vending machine policies are viewed as a promising strategy for combating the growing obesity epidemic in the United States. Few studies have evaluated the short- and intermediate-term outcomes of healthy vending policies, especially for interventions that require 100% healthy products to be stocked.

Objective:

To evaluate the potential impact of a 100% healthy vending machine nutrition policy.

Design:

The vendor's quarterly revenue, product sales records, and nutritional information data from 359 unique vending machines were used to conduct a baseline and follow-up policy analysis.

Setting:

County of Los Angeles facilities, 2013-2015.

Participants:

Vending machines in facilities located across Los Angeles County.

Intervention:

A healthy vending machine policy executed in 2013 that required 100% of all products sold in contracted machines meet specified nutrition standards.

Outcome Measures:

Policy adherence; average number of calories, sugar, and sodium in food products sold; revenue change.

Results:

Policy adherence increased for snacks and beverages sold by the vending machines by 89% and 98%, respectively. Average snack and beverage revenues decreased by 37% and 34%, respectively, during the sampled period.

Conclusions:

Although a 100% healthy vending policy represents a promising strategy for encouraging purchases of healthier foods, steps should be taken to counteract potential revenue changes when planning its implementation.

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