Online Program

Building a healthier Jackson County: Cross-sector collaboration to increase healthful food availability at worksites

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 12:50 p.m. - 1:10 p.m.

Donna Martin, AICP, MPH, Community Development Department, Mid-America Regional Council, Kansas City, MO
Christina Heinen, MFS, Independence, Missouri Health Department, Independence, MO
INTRODUCTION In 2011, the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) received a Community Transformation Grant to support chronic disease prevention for Jackson County, Missouri. MARC has partnered with the three public health departments that serve Jackson County: Kansas City, Independence, and Jackson County Health Departments. According to the Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System, 30% of Jackson County is obese, with obesity rates increasing between 2004 and 2007. METHODS In order to promote the consumption of healthful foods at worksites, the partners researched best practices on healthy vending criteria and met with vending company representatives to discuss options for improving availability. After an initial assessment, the Independence Health Department (IHD) rebid its vending machine contract. IHD met with other City departments and received support for the policy change. IHD then conducted an initial survey of employees to gain baseline data. RESULTS In 2012, the healthy vending policy took effect for 36 vending machines located within City facilities. Minimum criteria are as follows: 85% of all snacks must meet the healthy criteria regarding calories, fat, sugar, and sodium; 50% of all beverages in vending machines are without added sugar. Due to the policy, approximately 1,200 employees and thousands of visitors to city facilities have healthy, affordable vending choices available. This initial success also led to healthy vending workshops with area businesses to expand the intervention. DISCUSSION The healthy vending work has established an evaluation tool, workable vending criteria and, suggestions to achieve staff buy-in. These elements will facilitate expansion of the healthy vending work.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Discuss potential strategies to ensure multi-department collaboration to combat obesity. Describe effective tools to evaluate healthy vending initiatives. Identify potential partners for healthy vending initiatives.

Keyword(s): Food and Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered