The research study examined the food and drinks that were available to commuters in vending machines at 100 train stations across the Greater Sydney Metropolitan Area. Of the 206 vending machines identified, 84% of the slots were stocked with high-energy or unhealthy food and drinks, as judged against national dietary guidance policy.
Of concern, only eight out of the 3,048 food items found in vending machines were considered to be healthier choices. As well, high-energy foods were usually cheaper than lower-energy, or healthier alternatives.
“The current sale and promotion of food and drinks that contribute to unhealthy lifestyles and chronic disease is at odds with the NSW Government’s health promotion responsibilities,” according to Associate Professor Vicki Flood from the research team.
“As more than one-quarter of adults in Sydney catch public transport to work and study most days, these unhealthy vending machines can contribute to excess energy consumption over time. Excess energy consumption can lead to overweight and obesity.”
“Interventions are needed to ensure that there are more opportunities available for commuters to choose healthy food and drinks in these settings. This includes increasing the availability of healthier food and drinks and promoting these to commuters, such as offering these at lower prices”, Professor Flood said.
This study is being published in the April edition of Health Promotion Journal of Australia.
For media enquiries contact Associate Professor Vicki Flood on 4221 3947 or [email protected]