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Junk food vending machines in Canberra hospitals – why?

By Alexandra Craig 8 September 2015 37

stock-vending-machine-junk-food

Vending machines are everywhere these days. Most often, they sell soft drink and a couple of bottled water options. Otherwise, they’re filled with high fat, high sugar snacks (though I’ve seen thong vending machines around the place too).

Last year the ACT Government moved to ban vending machines in ACT public schools as part of its crackdown on childhood obesity. The crackdown also included removing junk food and soft drink from school canteens.

It makes sense for schools to provide healthy options to students. But how about hospitals?

Hospitals are a place of healing, yet many are filled with vending machines that promote unhealthy lifestyles. Surely it would make sense for these machines to be filled with healthy beverages and snacks?

I spent a short amount of time in Calvary Hospital earlier this year, and I remember the vending machine in the emergency room was stocked with healthy snacks and bottled water.

The same can’t be said for all hospitals. I’ve been told that some Canberra hospitals have vending machine contracts with Coca Cola. Despite being approached by healthier food vendors, they have no plans to switch to other providers.

I’m in two minds about this. Hospitals should stock healthy food in vending machines, but if they’re really committed to public health they should also remove unhealthy food and drink from other food outlets.

There’s no point removing the unhealthy vending machines if you can still buy junk food from the hospital café. If someone wants a Coke or a chocolate bar they’re not going to settle for water and almonds from the vending machine if they can go to the café instead.

A poor diet, especially one with high soft drink consumption, plays a big role in the development of non communicable illness such as diabetes and heart disease, not to mention obesity.

If a hospital won’t consider a move to healthy food because they have a contract with a soft drink company, I seriously doubt its commitment to good health.

Hospitals should promote a healthy diet and lifestyle. I would support a move to remove junk food from hospital vending machines and cafés.

Should hospitals sell healthy food in vending machines?

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Junk food vending machines in Canberra hospitals – why?
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Maya123 10:35 am 14 Sep 15

geetee said :

I’m more interested in the sequel to this thread. The one that talks about the quality and health values of food hospital patients have to eat rather than the ones they might elect to purchase.

From my personal experience of hospital food at Canberra hospital, it was overcooked, tasteless mush.

geetee 9:35 pm 13 Sep 15

I’m more interested in the sequel to this thread. The one that talks about the quality and health values of food hospital patients have to eat rather than the ones they might elect to purchase.

madelini 4:51 pm 09 Sep 15

The majority of people who purchase from the vending machines are adults, and should be trusted to make their own decisions. If someone is visiting a loved one who is unwell, and they want a chocolate bar, why is it up to you to stop them? Food is about more than calories, and a lot of people take comfort in it (including in moderation). We need to stop making other peoples’ decisions for them.

Also, contracts aside, healthier options aren’t often financially viable. They tend to sell less, and as the healthiest items are fruit, vegetables and sandwiches with healthy toppings, they are perishable and are thrown out more regularly. Even nuts – plain roasted almonds, for example – go stale a lot faster than a sealed packet of chips, and tend to cost a lot more too.

Masquara 4:13 pm 09 Sep 15

Nurses, doctors, cleaners, visitors – all use those vending machines, not just patients. Add to that, people at the end of their lives can eat what they want surely. Nanny state gone mad here.

rosscoact 3:30 pm 09 Sep 15

Nilrem said :

astrojax said :

my public service offices have just had our vending machines with chips choc and coke removed through lack of patronage. it can be up to people to have a choice to decline the offered fare.

but yes, if hospitals, or anywhere else, is to host vending machines then there ought to be more choice…

On the list of things I will not go near “Bubbler in a hospital’ is in the top 10

How many taps and water outlets are there in a hospital? Why pay infinitely more for water that tastes like plastic, and adds to the world’s litter and landfill probelems?

Nilrem 1:14 pm 09 Sep 15

astrojax said :

my public service offices have just had our vending machines with chips choc and coke removed through lack of patronage. it can be up to people to have a choice to decline the offered fare.

but yes, if hospitals, or anywhere else, is to host vending machines then there ought to be more choice…

How many taps and water outlets are there in a hospital? Why pay infinitely more for water that tastes like plastic, and adds to the world’s litter and landfill probelems?

rubaiyat 12:54 pm 09 Sep 15

dlenihan said :

I also think the government should put shading over all the pathways around the ACT.

Living in Tuggeranong (the dirty south, Canberra’s Cinderella) I often see people walking along these pathways without appropriate head dress.

We should take the lead and ensure, as the dynamic go forward best little capital in the world, that we protect all people from themselves and the poor choices they may make.

The project should begin in the highly suitable Isabella Drive corridor from Hume to Chisholm, (already shaded by trees that do the actual job) funding the project with the euthanasia of the vile and dangerous local Magpies population (that have the audacity to be looking for food) and stuffing the little buggers and selling them to offset the initial outlay of the project. A portable cardboard promotional facsimile of the proposed shade structure (only $11 000 to produce) that will be permanently located next to the new pop-up public toilet located at Isabella Ponds to promote this great and well thought out idea of the complete shading of Canberra to protect those that know no better. The project will create at least 3500 jobs, few full time and next to none actually located in Canberra.

We need to act NOW and get final tenders in and signed before the next election, just in case the actual people of Canberra who will pay for it, think its a bit of a dumb idea.

As for the vending machine, let them have a Coke.

Now I wonder how much Amatil-Coca Cola put into promoting their products, vending machine, cut out, or not?

Never mind THAT’S DIFFERENT!

dlenihan 10:44 am 09 Sep 15

I also think the government should put shading over all the pathways around the ACT.

Living in Tuggeranong (the dirty south, Canberra’s Cinderella) I often see people walking along these pathways without appropriate head dress.

We should take the lead and ensure, as the dynamic go forward best little capital in the world, that we protect all people from themselves and the poor choices they may make.

The project should begin in the highly suitable Isabella Drive corridor from Hume to Chisholm, (already shaded by trees that do the actual job) funding the project with the euthanasia of the vile and dangerous local Magpies population (that have the audacity to be looking for food) and stuffing the little buggers and selling them to offset the initial outlay of the project. A portable cardboard promotional facsimile of the proposed shade structure (only $11 000 to produce) that will be permanently located next to the new pop-up public toilet located at Isabella Ponds to promote this great and well thought out idea of the complete shading of Canberra to protect those that know no better. The project will create at least 3500 jobs, few full time and next to none actually located in Canberra.

We need to act NOW and get final tenders in and signed before the next election, just in case the actual people of Canberra who will pay for it, think its a bit of a dumb idea.

As for the vending machine, let them have a Coke.

Solidarity 10:27 am 09 Sep 15

rubaiyat said :

Solidarity said :

rubaiyat said :

Solidarity said :

People at hospital are stressed and frustrated enough, they don’t need to have have cr*p like “healthy choices” forced upon them. Vending machines are stocked based on what sells the best, the people have spoken, let them be.

Put back the cigarette vending machines.

All those patients leaning on their drips outside won’t have to walk as far to undo all the work, time and money the staff inside have just spent on them.

TCH is not a “junk food free” campus.

Well that’s alright then, as long as it isn’t in the wrong CATEGORY!

The venders have spoken, having removed all healthy options because they either are too bulky, perishable, inconvenient to package, awkward to fill the machines with and not ludicrously profitable because they use quality ingredients.

It’s not like the healthy options are going to jump out of the machines and force you to eat them!

Have you seen what’s in the vending machines? I wish I could upload a photo here.

JC 9:05 am 09 Sep 15

TuggLife said :

JC said :

TuggLife said :

For what it’s worth, I think there is scope for hospitals to set a better example, even maintaining their existing vending contract with Coca Cola (or Sodexho, Serco, Bidvest or whoever), and retaining vending machines as a revenue stream. For example, water and 100% juice could be prominently placed (and be the cheapest option), there could be more diet options available (not just cola), and the size of the bottles could be limited to 450ml or cans only.

100% juice? Isn’t that as bad as coke for sugar.

Fruit juice is high in sugar, but it does have at least some nutritional value, unlike Coke. Similar guidelines in NSW (Live Life Well @ Health for public hospitals, and Fresh Tastes @ School for public schools) recommend juice as an ‘Amber’ item, provided the serving size is limited to less than 300ml, and that it contains no more than 300kj per serve. The argument for including juice is that research has found that excluding it as an option doesn’t mean that sales or consumption of water increase. Having said that, a bottle of water (or a piece of fruit) is a better option every time.

You have just reminded me of something speaking of colours. But don’t the machines at Canberra hospital have the traffic light system to help advise would be customers of the nutritional status of the products on sale in the machines. Been a while since brought anything but water in one at the hospital but seem to recall.

As for juice, yeah might have some nutrition, wasn”t talking about that, was talking about sugar intake. Just goggled it 100ml of OJ=8g sugar, 100ml Coke=9g sugar, Apple juice=10g.

Go figure.

TuggLife 8:53 am 09 Sep 15

JC said :

TuggLife said :

For what it’s worth, I think there is scope for hospitals to set a better example, even maintaining their existing vending contract with Coca Cola (or Sodexho, Serco, Bidvest or whoever), and retaining vending machines as a revenue stream. For example, water and 100% juice could be prominently placed (and be the cheapest option), there could be more diet options available (not just cola), and the size of the bottles could be limited to 450ml or cans only.

100% juice? Isn’t that as bad as coke for sugar.

Fruit juice is high in sugar, but it does have at least some nutritional value, unlike Coke. Similar guidelines in NSW (Live Life Well @ Health for public hospitals, and Fresh Tastes @ School for public schools) recommend juice as an ‘Amber’ item, provided the serving size is limited to less than 300ml, and that it contains no more than 300kj per serve. The argument for including juice is that research has found that excluding it as an option doesn’t mean that sales or consumption of water increase. Having said that, a bottle of water (or a piece of fruit) is a better option every time.

astrojax 6:25 am 09 Sep 15

my public service offices have just had our vending machines with chips choc and coke removed through lack of patronage. it can be up to people to have a choice to decline the offered fare.

but yes, if hospitals, or anywhere else, is to host vending machines then there ought to be more choice…

rubaiyat 6:18 am 09 Sep 15

zllauh said :

even doctors say that one should eat junk food once a week to keep his immune system strong. having all the medicines stuffed up in the hospital is enough rather than stuffing not wanted healthy food to a patient

Such wisdom! And they scoff about Canberra’s denizens.

rubaiyat 6:14 am 09 Sep 15

JC said :

TuggLife said :

For what it’s worth, I think there is scope for hospitals to set a better example, even maintaining their existing vending contract with Coca Cola (or Sodexho, Serco, Bidvest or whoever), and retaining vending machines as a revenue stream. For example, water and 100% juice could be prominently placed (and be the cheapest option), there could be more diet options available (not just cola), and the size of the bottles could be limited to 450ml or cans only.

100% juice? Isn’t that as bad as coke for sugar.

I was going to pop up on that one except I’ve given up even arguing this one with my wife.

It’s one of those “sounds like” healthy choices that people make because thinking why anything is actually good or bad for you is all too difficult.

gooterz 2:21 am 09 Sep 15

Whats the usual argument?

Its my body I have the right to choose…

creative_canberran 11:20 pm 08 Sep 15

Yeah hospitals are place you should get healthy in. But hospitals are a place you never want to be, save the maternity ward. You’re there because you or someone else is sick, and your/they will spend the whole time dodging MRSA so they don’t come out more sick.

Offer healthy choices of course, if only for those who work there day in and out. But don’t ban the other stuff, sometimes someone just wants something warm or sweet, something comforting at any hour.

JC 7:02 pm 08 Sep 15

TuggLife said :

For what it’s worth, I think there is scope for hospitals to set a better example, even maintaining their existing vending contract with Coca Cola (or Sodexho, Serco, Bidvest or whoever), and retaining vending machines as a revenue stream. For example, water and 100% juice could be prominently placed (and be the cheapest option), there could be more diet options available (not just cola), and the size of the bottles could be limited to 450ml or cans only.

100% juice? Isn’t that as bad as coke for sugar.

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