Pilot Study: Assessment of the food environment attended by secondary school pupils in East Lothian and comparison with the food available at schools
Riley, L. (2017) Pilot Study: Assessment of the food environment attended by secondary school pupils in East Lothian and comparison with the food available at schools, no. 74.
Objective: To explore and compare the nutrient intake of children who obtain lunch in school, outside of school, or having a packed lunch. In addition, to determine whether there is an association between food outlet density surrounding schools with overweight and obesity among East Lothian pupils. Methods: Secondary school pupils aged 12-14 years (n = 27) from two secondary schools in East Lothian, Scotland, were asked to complete a 10-minute self-administered questionnaire and complete food diaries for a period of four days (Monday to Thursday). Nutritional analysis of the diaries was carried out. Comparison of the lunch type groups (school v packed v out- with school) was performed. Food outlets were mapped around 1km of schools and analysed to conclude if food outlet density was associated with overweight and obesity amongst pupils. Results: The findings from this study found that school lunch meals were superior of nutritional quality compared to street lunch meals and packed lunch meals. Whereby, total energy intake, fat, monosaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat and sodium levels were significantly greater amongst street lunch meals (p < 0.05). Food outlet density within 1km of schools was not associated with overweight and obesity among pupils. Conclusion: Our results support the encouragement of eating school lunch meals during lunch time to improve pupil's nutrition quality of lunchtime meal. It also encourages initiatives to improve the nutrition value of food outlets within 1 km of school grounds.