What are grade 5 and 6 children buying from school canteens and what do parents and teachers think about it?
Cleland, Verity, Worsley, Anthony and Crawford, David 2004, What are grade 5 and 6 children buying from school canteens and what do parents and teachers think about it?, Nutrition & Dietetics, vol. 61, no. 3, pp. 145-150.
Objective: The foods sold in school canteens have a significant role to play in ensuring children consume a healthy balance of nutritious foods. However, no research to date has described the foods that Australian children are purchasing at school canteens, or the perceptions held about school canteens by students, teachers and parents. Design: An exploratory cross-sectional survey was used to obtain information from students, parents and teachers through self completion questionnaires. Subjects: There were 384 children aged nine to 12 years, 404 parents and 41 teachers involved. Settings: The study was conducted in 12 primary schools in Victoria, Australia. Main outcome measures: Types of foods purchased at school canteens, school canteen usage, parents' and teachers' perceptions of the role of the school and canteen in influencing children's eating habits. Results: More than 50% of the children surveyed used the school canteen at least once per week. Children identified preference for unhealthy alternatives and availability as key barriers to choosing healthy foods at the canteen and suggested increased availability, advertisements and cost reductions as aids to purchasing healthy foods. Teachers placed more importance on the role of the canteen than parents did. Statistical analyses: Frequencies, cross-tabulation analyses and chi square tests were undertaken using the SPSS 11 computer program. Conclusions: These Victorian primary school children and their teachers, and to a lesser extent parents, had a clear understanding of healthy foods. Children and teachers identified barriers that prevent school canteens from providing healthy foods. There is likely to be strong support from these stakeholders for novel health promoting policies.
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Field of Research
111199 Nutrition and Dietetics not elsewhere classified
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