Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition Science and Dietetics


Tanya Horacek


Beverages, Healthy, Snacks, Vending


Vending machines may be contributing to the obesogenic food environment. The Health Density Vending Machine Audit Tool (HDVMAT) was developed to comprehensively evaluate and score vending machines based on machine accessibility, product healthfulness, price, and promotion. A novel nutrient-dense scoring system was created to determine the healthfulness of vended snacks based upon calories and macro/micro-nutrients and of beverages based on type and/or calories. The HDVMAT was implemented in snack and beverage university machines in different states. Nutrition Environment Measures Survey-Vending (NEMS-V) was used to validate the nutrient-density score. Significant differences in HDVMAT snack and beverage scores were found between states. Overall the HDVMAT is comparable to the NEMS-V, but uses a unique nutrient-dense scoring approach to evaluate snacks and beverages along a continuum of healthfulness criteria, offering a more accurate representation of the nutritional quality of vended products.


Open Access