Online Program

Vending machine policy and the nutrition environment in city parks:Lessons learned from carson, California

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Kimberly Narain, MD, PhD, MPH, Center of Healthcare Innovation Implementation and Policy, West Los Angeles Veterans Administration, Los Angeles, CA
Alfred Mata Jr., California Center for Public Health Advocacy, Baldwin Park, CA
Jeanette Flores, California Center for Public Health Advocacy, Baldwin Park, CA
Rates of childhood obesity have tripled since the 1980s. Obese children have an increased risk for chronic disease and premature mortality. Studies have shown nutrition policies at the school level to be linked with decreased caloric intake and weight loss. Limited information exists on the food environment of parks, another place kids may frequent. Consequently the need for nutrition policies in this setting is unclear. We use the Nutrition Environment Measures Survey-Vending Machine version to examine the content of park beverage machines located in Carson, California, a city with a disproportionate rate of childhood obesity. We document vending machine content before and after adoption of a healthy beverage vending policy. We also evaluate the beverage machine content of parks in comparison city that did not adopt a nutrition policy. Prior to implementation of the policy the average proportion of healthy beverages was 0.49 in Carson. Post policy implementation 80% of the vending machines contained 100% healthy beverage options. The mean proportion of healthy beverages in the comparison city was 0.25. Carson's adoption of this nutrition policy increased the availability of healthy beverages in city parks and reduced exposure to unhealthy ones. The results of this study suggest that the food environment in city parks may contribute to excess caloric consumption and highlights the need to assess the food environment in parks. This study also demonstrates the feasibility of adopting policy at the city level that has the potential to improve the nutrition environment of children.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Assess the nutrition environment of city parks in Carson California Evaluate the impact of a city level healthy vending machine policy on the food environment in city parks Describe the process of adopting and implementing a healthy beverage vending policy at the city level

Keyword(s): Food and Nutrition, Child Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have completed a California Endowment Scholar in Health Policy fellowship at Harvard University, have attended the Built Environment Assessment Training Institute and am in the process of completing a Robert Wood Johnson health services research fellowship at the University of California Los Angeles. My work primarily involves the impact of social policies and the built environment on the health of vulnerable populations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.