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Open AccessArticle

Development and Validation of the Vending Evaluation for Nutrient-Density (VEND)ing Audit

Department of Public Health Food Studies and Nutrition, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244, USA
Human Development and Family Studies, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849, USA
Department of Nutritional Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA
Department of Nutrition, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
School of Food and Agriculture, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469-5735, USA
Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
Division of Animal & Nutritional Sciences, School of Agriculture, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA
Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68588, USA
Department of Molecular, Cellular & Biomedical Sciences, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824, USA
Health and Nutritional Sciences Department, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD 57007, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(3), 514;
Received: 30 November 2018 / Revised: 8 February 2019 / Accepted: 8 February 2019 / Published: 12 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Built Environments, Food Environments, and Public Health)
Background: This paper describes the development and validation of the Vending Evaluation for Nutrient-Density (VEND)ing audit to comprehensively evaluate vended products based upon healthfulness, price and promotion, and machine accessibility. Methods: A novel vending nutrient-density score was created to determine the healthfulness of vended snack/beverage products. Field tested in United States colleges, VENDing audit (∑nutrient-density + 10 × % healthy products) and Support sub-scores (price + promotion + accessibility) were calculated for snack/beverage machines. Higher scores indicate more healthful vending options and supports for choosing healthfully. Nutrition Environment Measures Survey-Vending (NEMS-V) was used to validate the nutrient-density score for a sub-sample of machines. Sensitivity and specificity were computed by comparing the number of healthy snacks/beverages determined by NEMS-V and the VENDing nutrient-density scores. Results: Researchers conducted the VENDing audit on 228 snack/beverage vending machines at 9 universities within the United States and used both VENDing and NEMS-V on 33 snack and 52 beverage vending machines. Mean VENDing audit scores were 4.5 ± 2.0 (2.6, 3.4) and 2.6 ± 2.0 (0, 12) for snack/beverage machines, respectively. The number of products considered healthy assessed with both the VENDing nutrient-density scores and the NEMS-V were positively correlated for beverages (r = 0.687, p < 0.001) and snacks (r = 0.366, p < 0.05). The sensitivity was excellent for beverages (0.83) and moderate for snacks (0.69); while the specificity was moderate for both beverages (0.66) and snacks (0.50). Conclusions: The VENDing audit uses unique, valid, and reliable nutrient-density scoring to evaluate snacks/beverages along a continuum of healthful criteria and comprehensively evaluates the full vending environment. View Full-Text
Keywords: vending machines; food environment; snacks; beverages; nutrient-density score vending machines; food environment; snacks; beverages; nutrient-density score
MDPI and ACS Style

Horacek, T.M.; Yildirim, E.D.; Matthews Schreiber, M.; Byrd-Bredbenner, C.; Colby, S.; White, A.A.; Shelnutt, K.P.; Olfert, M.D.; Mathews, A.E.; Riggsbee, K.; Franzen-Castle, L.; Morrell, J.S.; Kattelmann, K. Development and Validation of the Vending Evaluation for Nutrient-Density (VEND)ing Audit. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 514.

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