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Healthy Vending Iowa

Potential Public Health Impact

Reach:  The potential for reach is high given Healthy Vending Iowa can be used by worksites and other facilities with vending machines. The State of Iowa laid the necessary groundwork for collaboration with the Department for the Blind and work with blind vendors operating in government-owned buildings, rest areas, and state parks to participate in Healthy Vending Iowa.  Targeted messaging from the Mix-It-Up social marketing component appeals to population sub-groups (blue collar and white collar employees), which also increases its potential for reach. 

Effectiveness:  Healthy Vending Iowa was successful in increasing the availability and accessibility of healthy foods and beverages from vending machines in public and private worksites.  The research-informed social marketing component of Healthy Vending Iowa further supports healthier snacking habits in the workplace.  While data on changes in snacking behavior and in knowledge or awareness of healthier snacking are not currently available, these outcomes will be evaluated in future work supported by a Community Transformation Grant. 

Adoption:  Healthy Vending Iowa has been used in a variety of worksite settings.  Some of these settings include public and private worksites, ranging from 30 to 1,200 employees and located throughout the state of Iowa.  Healthy Vending Iowa has also been adopted by 13 state buildings on the Capitol Complex.   

Implementation: Formative work and pilot testing contributed to well-developed Healthy Vending Iowa tools available online.  The Healthy Vending Iowa website provides detailed information on the NEMS-V assessment process, Mix-it-Up social marketing materials, online training videos (e.g., How to Communicate with your Vendor), and other healthy vending resources.  Process evaluation data from worksites indicate the worksites implemented Healthy Vending Iowa as intended.  Healthy Vending Iowa is easy to implement at a relatively low cost, thus it seems reasonable to expect it could be implemented as intended in a variety of settings. 

Maintenance:  Maintenance of the intervention requires sustained worksite leadership and engagement from the vendor(s).  Asking participating locations to develop a worksite policy or resolution requiring at least 30% of vending options as healthy choices further supports long-term maintenance but also requires monitoring for compliance.  Healthy Vending Iowa benefits from support from the governor’s office and from cooperation between the Department for the Blind and the Department of Health.  Support from such high levels further ensures sustainability of healthy vending on government property.