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Publication - Dr Angeliki Papadaki

    Nutritional value of foods sold in vending machines in a UK University

    Formative, cross-sectional research to inform an environmental intervention


    Park, H & Papadaki, A, 2016, ‘Nutritional value of foods sold in vending machines in a UK University: Formative, cross-sectional research to inform an environmental intervention’. Appetite, vol 96., pp. 517-525


    Vending machine use has been associated with low dietary quality among
    children but there is limited evidence on its role in food habits of
    University students. We aimed to examine the nutritional value of foods
    sold in vending machines in a UK University and conduct formative
    research to investigate differences in food intake and body weight by
    vending machine use among 137 University students. The nutrient content
    of snacks and beverages available at nine campus vending machines was
    assessed by direct observation in May 2014. Participants (mean age 22.5
    years; 54% males) subsequently completed a self-administered
    questionnaire to assess vending machine behaviours and food intake.
    Self-reported weight and height were collected. Vending machine snacks
    were generally high in sugar, fat and saturated fat, whereas most
    beverages were high in sugar. Seventy three participants (53.3%) used
    vending machines more than once per week and 82.2% (n 60) of
    vending machine users used them to snack between meals. Vending machine
    accessibility was positively correlated with vending machine use (r = 0.209, P = 0.015).
    Vending machine users, compared to non-users, reported a significantly
    higher weekly consumption of savoury snacks (5.2 vs. 2.8, P = 0.014), fruit juice (6.5 vs. 4.3, P = 0.035), soft drinks (5.1 vs. 1.9, P = 0.006), meat products (8.3 vs. 5.6, P = 0.029) and microwave meals (2.0 vs. 1.3, P = 0.020).
    No between-group differences were found in body weight. Most foods
    available from vending machines in this UK University were of low
    nutritional quality. In this sample of University students, vending
    machine users displayed several unfavourable dietary behaviours,
    compared to non-users. Findings can be used to inform the development of
    an environmental intervention that will focus on vending machines to
    improve dietary behaviours in University students in the UK.

    Full details in the University publications repository