Physical Activity & Nutrition and 3 more...less...

Nutrition and Physical Activity Strategies

Policies and Systems

3-4-50 Cross Sector Engagement

# of strategies completed to increase access to healthy food in state facilities

36Q1 2020

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Story Behind the Curve

Last updated: November 2020

Author: Physical Activity and Nutrition Program, Vermont Department of Health


DUE TO COVID-19, THERE IS NO Q3 2020 UPDATE FOR THIS PERFORMANCE MEASURE.

During the 2016 Legislative session Act 113 was passed, mandating that state agencies and departments, as well as any food service operations on state property, provide healthy food choices as part of their offerings. This caused a large increase in the number of strategies completed to increase access to healthy food in state facilities, from 11 to 34. The Vermont Department of Health has set forth the food standards which are posted on the Health Department website that these organizations began following July 1, 2016. These choices include items that are low in fat, sugar and sodium, items that meet the needs of people with food allergies and when possible, healthy local items.

Now, two years later, we asked a group of Vermont Certified Public Manager students to study the implementation rates of the food standards across state government, determine any barriers to implementation and make recommendations for removing the barriers. They reported their findings and recommendations in May 2019 to the Health In All Policies Task Force for consideration.

Partners
What Works

As an employer, the State of Vermont is committed to helping employees achieve optimal health and well-being. Supporting nutritious choices at work is an important part of this commitment and a low-cost way to model the behavior we seek at worksites and community facilities throughout the state. Employees are not the only people who benefit from these changes, as the general public purchases food at these facilities and attends conferences and other state sponsored events. According to the Center for Science and the Public Interest, ten states and many municipalities have some level of policy activity regarding healthy food or vending. Vermont’s healthy food standards are based on the American Heart Association's Recommended Nutrition Standards for Procurement of Foods and Beverages Offered in the Workplace.

Action Plan

Health Department staff will provide support to state agencies as they begin implementation. This will include:

  • Using the workgroup recommendations to develop strategies to better support state departments and agencies in implementation through spring 2020.
  • A Vermont Department of Health team is learning about the work process for approving menus, and an evaluation will be done of how many menus are compliant with the food standards in spring 2020.
  • Share these finding with the rest of the state agencies so that they can create their own processes for approving menus and collecting data on compliance.
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