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Improving the food environment in UK schools: Policy opportunities and challenges

Improving the food environment in UK schools: Policy opportunities and challenges Childhood obesity and nutrition are high on the UK policy agenda because of their association with chronic illnesses and related costs. In 2007, to improve children's nutrition, the Government introduced new standards for all school food sources, including products sold from vending machines. Our research explores the factors influencing schools’ decisions and children's food choices in relation to vending machines. We conducted in-depth interviews with staff and pupils in one English Local Education Authority. We found that pupils made food decisions based on cost considerations, and convenience, and they strongly valued individual choice. Schools’ decisions to provide vending were influenced predominantly by fiscal and structural constraints. Although unhappy with the current quality of school food, staff and pupils criticised initiatives to restrict unhealthy foods. It appears that achieving a healthier school environment is a long-term project involving multiple strategies of education and incentives, as well as regulation. These must involve parents as well as pupils and schools. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Public Health Policy Springer Journals

Improving the food environment in UK schools: Policy opportunities and challenges

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References (30)

Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2010 by Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd
Subject
Social Sciences; Social Sciences, general; Sociology, general; Social Policy; Public Health; Medical Sociology; Social Justice, Equality and Human Rights
ISSN
0197-5897
eISSN
1745-655X
DOI
10.1057/jphp.2010.9
pmid
20535103
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Childhood obesity and nutrition are high on the UK policy agenda because of their association with chronic illnesses and related costs. In 2007, to improve children's nutrition, the Government introduced new standards for all school food sources, including products sold from vending machines. Our research explores the factors influencing schools’ decisions and children's food choices in relation to vending machines. We conducted in-depth interviews with staff and pupils in one English Local Education Authority. We found that pupils made food decisions based on cost considerations, and convenience, and they strongly valued individual choice. Schools’ decisions to provide vending were influenced predominantly by fiscal and structural constraints. Although unhappy with the current quality of school food, staff and pupils criticised initiatives to restrict unhealthy foods. It appears that achieving a healthier school environment is a long-term project involving multiple strategies of education and incentives, as well as regulation. These must involve parents as well as pupils and schools.

Journal

Journal of Public Health PolicySpringer Journals

Published: Jun 10, 2010

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