An investigation of the association between vending machine confectionery purchase frequency by schoolchildren in the UK and other dietary and lifestyle factors

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Objective. Availability of confectionery from vending machines in secondary schools provides a convenient point of purchase. There is concern that this may lead to `over-indulgence' and hence an increase in susceptibility to obesity and poor `dietary quality'. The study objective was to investigate the association between the frequency of consumption of confectionery purchased from vending machines and other sources and related lifestyle factors in adolescent boys and girls. Design: A secondary school-based, cross-sectional study. Subjects and setting: A total of 504 subjects were investigated (age range 12-15 years), from three schools in southern and northern England. Using a lifestyle questionnaire, frequency of confectionery consumption (CC) from all sources (AS) and vending machines (VM) was recorded for a typical school week. Subjects were categorised into non-consumers, low, medium and high consumers using the following criteria: none, 0 times per week; low, 1-5 times per week; medium, 6-9 times per week; high, 10 times per week or greater. Results: No differences were found in the frequency of CC from AS or VM between those who consumed breakfast and lunch and those who did not. No differences were found in the frequency of fruit and vegetable intake in high VM CC vs. none VM CC groups, or in any of the VM CC groups. Confectionery consumption from AS (but not VM) was found to be higher in subjects who were physically active on the journey to school (P < 0.01) but also higher in those who spent more time watching television and playing computer games (P < 0.01). No associations were found between smoking habits or alcohol consumption and frequency of CC. Conclusions: These results do not show a link between consumption of confectionery purchased from vending machines and `poor' dietary practice or `undesirable' lifestyle habits. Findings for total confectionery consumption showed some interesting trends, but the results were not consistent, either for a negative or positive effect.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-504
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2003


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