Rockland County Health Department’s work mainly focused on working with their vending contractor to provide healthier beverage choices in vending machines in all county buildings. In addition, they also developed and implemented an educational print and media campaign. To accomplish these tasks, meetings were held with the vending contractor and purchasing department to understand how the current beverage vending structure was set-up within the county including length of contract, location of machines, sales data, types of machines and products available. In addition, the Health Department a contract with a media company for implementation of a campaign (print, audio, TV).

Testimonial

“One of the nutrition related goals for one of the clients I work with has been to decrease/ stop consuming soda and increase water consumption. During our last visit he began to talk about the posters regarding sugar-sweetened beverages he has been seeing while riding the bus. These posters have not only reinforced what we had been discussing but also reinforced it at the point of consumption since many people drink these beverages while riding the bus. They also contributed to moving him from the contemplation stage to motivation and action. It is great to have a moment at work when one can remember that no matter what department we work for, all our work supports each other and contributes to bringing us one step closer to a healthier Rockland County.”
 
Public Health Nutritionist

THE ROCKLAND COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT EXPERIENCE

What They Did

  • Educational presentations were made to the county executive, purchasing department and other staff.
  • Collaborative efforts were made with their worksite wellness committee (representing 45 employers).
  • NYC’s ‘Pouring on the Pounds’ campaign materials were adapted for use by contracting with a media company.
  • An employee survey was administered via survey monkey to gain input on vending machine product mix. Over 300 employee responses were received. Click here for sample Survey.
  • The county collaborated with their vending company and held taste tests for employees.
  • Pre and post observational assessments of vending machines were conducted to document changes made to the placement and availability of non-SSBs. Click here for Sample Assessment.

Outcomes and Successes

  • Results of the employee surveys showed that people overwhelmingly wanted healthy products. These results were used as evidence to request the vending company to place healthy product mixes in vending machines.
  • Educational materials were made available at vending machines (at point-of-purchase).
  • Seltzer (as requested by employees) sold well in the health department building.
  • Print and media campaign were implemented in the mall (print) and public transport (scrolling text ads/posters), and audio and TV advertisements ran county-wide.
  • Educational materials (over 3,000 SSB campaign items such as posters, brochures, and handouts) were disseminated to residents, employees and students county-wide at various presentations.

Valuable Partnerships

  • Community Coalitions, NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, Media Company, Transportation of Rockland, Worksite Wellness Committee, County of Rockland Purchasing Department, Vending Company

Best Practices and Lessons

  • Rely on existing evidence on SSBs to educate decision-makers and the public.
  • Replicate and adapt an existing successful model (i.e. NYC’s ‘Pouring on the Pounds’).
  • Involve the purchasing department early in the process to understand vending contracts and facilitate communication and relationship with vending company.
  • Use existing partner network to promote messages to other employers in the county.

Reach

  • Vending machine changes affected approximately 3000 people/day.
  • SSB campaign items such as posters, brochures, and handouts were disseminated to residents, employees and students county-wide. The print and media campaign affected all county residents.

On-going commitment

  • A practice to revise the vending climate of county buildings was adopted. Language around provision of healthy beverages has been incorporated in the current vending bid and “provision of healthy foods and beverages” has been included as a part of the vendor evaluation component of the application.
  • The county will continue to disseminate educational materials and make educational presentations to organizations and worksites.

Challenges

  • Initial gaps in communication existed between the health department, purchasing department and vending company with regards to vending machine change requirements. This was remedied by involving the purchasing department in all future steps and processes.

 

Contact: Melanie Shefchik, Rockland County Department of Health, Division of Health Promotion, 50 Sanatorium Rd., Building J, Pomona, NY 10970. Phone: 845-364-3786. Email: shefchim@co.rockland.ny.us

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