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Can J Diet Pract Res. 2003 Winter;64(4):208-13.

Issues in implementing school nutrition policies.

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  • 1Faculty of Education, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton.


The implementation of school nutrition policies poses a challenge to dietitians as they work with schools to increase the availability of nutritious foods. An analysis of the implementation of the Food and Nutrition Policy for New Brunswick Schools, proclaimed by the department of education in 1991, revealed four factors that influenced implementation: selling food for profit, student choice, interpretation of the policy, and the approach to implementation. From 1997 to 1999, data were obtained from 50 participants at the provincial, district, and school levels through semi-structured interviews; supporting evidence was obtained through a review of pertinent documents. The policy goal was to develop good eating habits among schoolchildren. The policy objective to have all food services follow national guidelines for healthy eating was so controversial that implementation was inconsistent and had little impact on school foods. Opponents objected when the sale of certain foods was curtailed, felt the policy limited student choice, were unsure how to interpret it, and resented the department's top-down approach. Dietitians, who had minimal involvement with the New Brunswick policy, need to consider carefully how to work with educational agencies to combine support and pressure to foster the capacity and willingness of schools to implement nutrition policies.

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