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Can J Public Health. 2007 Jul-Aug;98(4):246-50.

Food sales outlets, food availability, and the extent of nutrition policy implementation in schools in British Columbia.

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  • 1Department of Health Care and Epidemiology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The purpose of this study was to determine the number and types of different food sales outlets, the types of foods offered for sale in all school food outlets, and the extent of nutrition policy implementation in schools in British Columbia. We also directly measured the number and types of snack foods available for sale in each vending machine at each school.

METHODS:

Based on a thorough literature review and guided by an expert panel of nutritionists, we developed an instrument to measure the quantity and types of foods offered for sale in vending machines, the types of food for sale in all school food outlets, and the extent of nutrition policy development.

RESULTS:

The survey response rate was approximately 70%. Approximately 60% of surveyed schools had a permanent food sales outlet. Snack and beverage vending machines were most common in secondary schools, while tuck shops and food-based fundraisers were more common in elementary schools. While few snack vending machines were present in elementary schools, tuck shops stocked items commonly found in snack machines. Approximately 25% of schools had a formal group responsible for nutrition. These schools were more likely to have nutrition policies in place.

CONCLUSION:

"Junk" foods were widely available in elementary, middle, and secondary schools through a variety of outlets. Although snack machines are virtually absent in elementary schools, tuck shops and school fundraisers sell foods usually found in snack machines, largely cancelling the positive effect of the absence of snack machines in these schools. Schools with a group responsible for nutrition appear to have a positive impact on nutrition policy implementation.

PMID:
17896729
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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