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United Arab Emirates: Healthy vending machines introduced in Abu Dhabi healthcare facilities – News

Provide health facility visitors and employees with healthier snacks.



W.A.M.

By WAM

Published: Thu 3 March 2022, 07:13

Last update: Thu 3 March 2022, 07:40

The Abu Dhabi Public Health Center (ADPHC) has launched its healthy vending machine program in Abu Dhabi healthcare entities.

This initiative is in line with ADPHC’s goal of providing easily accessible and nutritious food options as an effective method of combating chronic disease.

The ADPHC Healthy Vending Machine Guidelines were first introduced in 2021 and implemented in healthcare facilities across the emirate in a phased approach, with the aim of providing visitors and healthcare facility employees with healthier snack options than those regularly available from vending machines.

The food options now sold in vending machines in Abu Dhabi’s healthcare facilities are approved by a dedicated team of ADPHC experts.

The most recent audit of healthcare organizations in Abu Dhabi, conducted in partnership with the Emirates Classification Society (TASNEEF) in 2021, reports an uptake and application rate of 95%.

Dr Omniyat Al Hajri, Executive Director – Community Health, ADPHC, said: “Adopting a healthy lifestyle and consuming healthy food options is an essential step in maintaining the health and safety of community members and combating against chronic diseases. We are committed to supporting the food industry by working hand-in-hand to implement the latest technologies and innovations and uphold adherence to evidence-based research and guidelines, with the goal of ensuring that all vending machines in healthcare facilities offer healthy options – for patients, visitors and employees. “

As part of this initiative, ADPHC provides technical support and expert consultation to food establishments and suppliers, in addition to training sessions and materials for food industry employees, in accordance with its guidelines on healthy vending machines.

Maryam Al Mansoori, Head of Nutrition Department, ADPHC, said: “Healthy vending machines include low calorie drinks such as low fat and unflavoured dairy drinks, natural water, natural fruit juices, unsweetened tea or coffee and snacks such as unflavored natural popcorn, baked potato chips, unsalted nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables without additives, and dark chocolate.

“Fizzy drinks high in sugar, energy drinks, nuts containing added oils and high in salt, fried potato chips, chocolate, candies and other sweets such as caramel and lollipops, are now prohibited from being available in vending machines.”

To encourage users to choose healthier food options, food display in vending machines has been adjusted to show healthier options prominently with less healthy options on lower shelves to persuade visitors and employees to opt for healthier foods.

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In addition, healthcare facilities in Abu Dhabi provide patients, visitors and employees with informative leaflets to help raise awareness and create change in consumption habits.