Creating a healthier GV – our vending machines vs. healthy choices guidelines

Ms Lyndall Bigland1, Miss Sarah McTaggart1

1Goulburn Valley Health, Shepparton, Australia

Aim: To assess the nutritional quality of the products sold in vending machines across Goulburn Valley Health (GV Health) and compare this to the recommendations made in the Healthy Choices guidelines.

Method: Nutritional quality was determined by categorising each vending machine product sold using the traffic light system specified in the Healthy Choices guidelines. Using the guidelines, food and drink products are categorised as green (best choices),  amber (choose carefully) or red (limit). The proportion of green, amber and red products was determined for each machine and compared to the benchmarks recommended in the guidelines. These proportions were also utilised to assess the type of food and drinks displayed at the average adult and child eye heights.

Results: All vending machines across GV Health did not meet the recommended benchmarks of < 20% red products and >50% green products displayed. Collectively, drink machines (n=4) exceeded the red benchmark by up to 46% and snack machines (n=2) exceeded by up to 68%. Likewise, drink machines and snack machines failed to meet the minimum 50% green benchmark by 35% and 49% respectively. Red products represented the largest proportion of products displayed at eye height for the average child in both the snack and drink machines. For adults, only red products were displayed at eye height in snack machines..

Significance of the findings to allied health: These results will have an organisation wide impact as GV Health work towards meeting the guideline benchmarks. This analysis was completed by a Dietitian and has actively raised the profile of dietetics within GV Health.