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Public Health Nutr. 2019 Jun;22(9):1696-1703. doi: 10.1017/S1368980019000156. Epub 2019 Feb 22.

Objective assessment of compliance with a state-wide school food-service policy via menu audits.

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1School of Psychology,Curtin University,GPO Box U1987,Perth,WA 6845,Australia.
3Western Australian School Canteen Association (Inc.),East Perth,Western Australia,Australia.



The Healthy Food and Drink Policy was implemented in Western Australian government schools in 2007. The aim of the present study was to assess the compliance of Western Australian school canteen menus with the policy a decade after its introduction.


The traffic-light system that underpins the Healthy Food and Drink Policy categorises foods and drinks into three groups: 'green' healthy items, 'amber' items that should be selected carefully and 'red' items that lack nutritional value. Canteen menus were collected online and each menu item was coded as a green, amber or red choice.


Western Australia.ParticipantsOnline canteen menus from 136 primary and secondary government schools.


The majority of audited school menus met policy requirements to include ≥60 % green items (84 %) and ≤40 % amber items (90 %), but only 52 % completely excluded red items. Overall, approximately half (48 %) of school canteen menus met all three traffic-light targets. On average, 70 % of the menu items were green, 28 % were amber and 2 % were red. Primary-school canteen menus were more likely than those from secondary schools to meet the requirements of the policy.


While the sampled Western Australian government school canteen menus were highly compliant with most of the requirements of the Healthy Food and Drink Policy, many offered red foods and/or drinks. Providing all schools with further education about identifying red items and offering additional services to secondary schools may help improve compliance rates.


Canteen; Food policy; Menu audit; Nutrition; Policy evaluation; School


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