File(s) not publicly available

The Impact of Modifying Food Service Practices in Secondary Schools Providing a Routine Meal Service on Student’s Food Behaviours, Health and Dining Experience: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

journal contribution
posted on 2023-02-15, 01:53 authored by E Mingay, M Hart, Serene YoongSerene Yoong, K Palazzi, E D’Arcy, KM Pursey, A Hure
The education sector is recognised as an ideal platform to promote good nutrition and decision making around food and eating. Examining adolescents in this setting is important because of the unique features of adolescence compared to younger childhood. This systematic review and meta-analysis examine interventions in secondary schools that provide a routine meal service and the impact on adolescents’ food behaviours, health and dining experience in this setting. The review was guided by Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) Checklist and Cochrane Handbook recommendations. Studies published in English searched in four databases and a hand search yielded 42 interventions in 35 studies. Risk of bias was assessed independently by two reviewers. Interventions were classified using the NOURISHING framework, and their impact analysed using meta-analysis, vote-counting synthesis or narrative summary. The meta-analysis showed an improvement in students selecting vegetables (odds ratio (OR): 1.39; 1.12 to 1.23; p = 0.002), fruit serves selected (mean difference (MD): 0.09; 0.09 to 0.09; p < 0.001) and consumed (MD: 0.10; 0.04 to 0.15; p < 0.001), and vegetable serves consumed (MD: 0.06; 0.01 to 0.10; p = 0.024). Vote-counting showed a positive impact for most interventions that measured selection (15 of 25; 41% to 77%; p = 0.002) and consumption (14 of 24; 39% to 76%; p = 0.013) of a meal component. Interventions that integrate improving menu quality, assess palatability, accessibility of healthier options, and student engagement can enhance success. These results should be interpreted with caution as most studies were not methodologically strong and at higher risk of bias. There is a need for higher quality pragmatic trials, strategies to build and measure sustained change, and evaluation of end-user attitudes and perceptions towards intervention components and implementation for greater insight into intervention success and future directions (PROSPERO registration: CRD42020167133).