Interventions such as the HPVM project could help improve standards for foods available in hospitals and promote favourable social norms about desirable foods.
The HPVM project was made possible through funds from the Centre de promotion de la sante du CHU Sainte-Justine with the partnership of the Fondation Lucie et Andre Chagnon and the Fondation CHU Sainte-Justine, and with the collaboration of Morrison, member of Compass Group Canada.
The goal of this study was to use a pre- and post-intervention evaluation design to measure the impact of health-promoting vending machines (HPVMs) on consumers' attitudes toward and practices with vending machines.
The HPVMs also included a section with options for children aged one to three years, which met their specific dietary recommendations in terms of fat content (e.g., whole milk, fruit juices in 125-mL portions, Minigo yogurts, etc.).
Before the HPVMs were introduced, focus groups were conducted with children, adolescents, and adults to collect information about taste, preferences, prices, and portion sizes for potential vending machines.
In the current study, we hypothesized that exposure to the HPVMs could act as a trigger to increase participants' awareness of the importance of healthy diets.
The HPVMs were developed specifically for a pediatric hospital setting by an interdisciplinary team of experts who used strict nutrition criteria adapted to children's needs.
However, because of contractual obligations, only vending machines in the main entrance were replaced by HPVMs, and so the usual less-nutritious snacks and beverages remained available elsewhere in the hospital.
However, an important barrier emerged as few items offered by the food industry complied with the selected nutrition criteria; consequently, for a time the variety of products on display in HPVMs was limited.