British hospitals are receiving criticism for their vending machine selections. Snack vending machines in English hospitals offer a fairly standard line-up of snack choices. The criticism is due to the lack of healthy choices and a tendency to offer high-calorie snacks from vending machines in an establishment that is supposed to promote and exemplify health.
A survey performed by the World Cancer Research Fund found that 73% of English health trusts do not have a policy on the food sold in their vending machines. 67% of hospitals that responded stated that they offered at least one healthier option for each product type, but that falls behind Welsh and Scottish policies. In both other nations, their governments have had guidelines in place for hospital vending machines since 2008 that recommend they be stocked with at least 30% healthier choice products.
The main concern comes from high-calorie snacks’ relation with obesity, which is a factor in the hospitalization of many patients that the snacks will be sold to, as well as making sure health providers send a clear message on good nutrition. While common vending machine snacks will still be sold, offering healthier options will give patients, staff and visitors that are often in hospitals for long periods of time options that will be better for their diets.
eVending has found that policies and guidelines similar to those in currently in place in the United Kingdom are taking hold in many US hospitals, giving patients, staff and visitors healthier vending options.