Online Program

Working with Mobile Food Vendors to Foster Healthy School Food Environments

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 1:00 p.m. - 1:10 p.m.

Anna Barnes, MPH, Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital, Chicago, IL
Katherine Nickele, Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC), Chicago, IL
Rachael Dombrowski, MPH, Office of Student Health and Wellness, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago, IL
Sarah B. Welch, MPH, Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Nadia Sulayman, Office of Student Health and Wellness, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago, IL
Childhood obesity prevention efforts targeting school food often focus inside school buildings (e.g., lunchrooms, classrooms) or on competitive foods sold at school. Research has shown that students purchase and consume excess calories as they travel to and from school. Many Chicago Public School (CPS) students, particularly in predominately Latino neighborhoods, have access to foods and beverages sold by mobile vendors near schools. The Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC) partnered with CPS in their CDC-funded Community Transformation Grant to improve the food environment around schools through work with vendors, students, and schools. CLOCC staff conducted focus groups with vendors selling near schools and with parents to understand the opportunities and barriers to selling healthy foods near schools. Findings informed the development of a healthy mobile vending intervention comprised of vendor training and technical assistance to improve the healthfulness of items offered, a social marketing campaign informed by and focused on students to build demand for healthy items, and parent and community involvement. Vendor audits provided data on foods and beverages for sale before and after the intervention. Interviews with mobile food vendors highlighted vendor willingness to sell more healthy items coupled with concerns about negative impact on profits – indicating the need for strong demand-building strategies. This paper will describe the healthy mobile vending initiative, highlight opportunities and challenges to engaging vendors in the process of creating healthy school food environments, and share lessons learned for communities interested in implementing a similar approach to improving the school-food.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe the role of mobile food vendors in creating healthy school food environments. Discuss strategies for engaging mobile vendors to foster healthy school food environments.

Keyword(s): School-Based Health, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a bachelor's degree in Spanish and Global Health and have conducted both focus groups and have research experience conducting focus group with Latino populations. My job includes conducting community engaged research and evaluation with mobile food vendors, schools and parents.
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.