Online Program

Impact of Policy Change on Nutrient Quality of Vending Purchases

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 12:50 p.m. - 1:10 p.m.

Gail Kaye, PhD, RD, LD, LPCC, Health Behavior Health Promotion, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Ally Heydinger, MPH, BSN Accelerated Program, Mt. Carmel College of Nursing, Columbus, OH

To reduce the availability of energy dense and nutrient poor snack food vending options, a large Midwestern University changed its vending policy from contract-specified item ratios (28.5 % green -best choice; 43% yellow -choose occasionally; and 28.5% red -choose rarely) using the Snackwise® nutrient rating system to AVI System’s Nutrisnack® guidelines (set calorie and nutrient criteria). The purpose of this study was to compare the differences in nutrient quality before and after implementation of a new vending policy.


The design for this study was a cross-sectional survey of vending consumers at six pre-selected high volume campus vending machines. Vending consumers (N = 536) were observed and interviewed by 24 trained undergraduate and graduate students for eight hours a day for five days over a period of two weeks. Nutrients evaluated included calories, fat, protein, sugar, calcium, and dietary fiber.  


Average number of calories consumed per snack decreased from 219.9 kcal before to 153.5 kcal after the policy change.  Average nutrient quality was significantly different after the policy change; average fat (p<0.0005) and sugar (p<0.0005) content decreased significantly; dietary fiber increased significantly (p<0.0005).  No statistically significant changes were found for protein and calcium.  


The new vending policy appeared to improve the nutrient quality of snack foods consumed by patrons. Vending machine policy can be used as a mechanism to reduce the availability of less healthy, energy-dense snack options and make healthier, nutrient-dense snack options more available to the public.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Compare the kilocalorie and nutrient criteria of the old and new vending policies Describe the changes in consumption of kilocalories and key nutrients (fat, protein, sugar, calcium and dietary fiber) before and after policy implementation

Keyword(s): Nutrition, Public/Private Partnerships

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the research adviser for this project, have conducted numerous studies in the vending area, and I'm a registered and licensed dietitian.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
AVI Foodsystems Inc. Grant Industry Sponsored Grant

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.