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The 'Voice' of Key Stakeholders in a School Food and Drink Intervention in Two Secondary Schools in NE England: Findings from a Feasibility Study

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Lorraine McSweeneyORCiD, Jennifer Bradley, Professor Ashley AdamsonORCiD, Dr Suzanne Spence



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Abstract: Background: Overweight/obesity affects one-third of UK 11–15-year olds. Individually focussed interventions alone have limited effectiveness. Food choice architecture approaches increase the visibility and convenience of foods to facilitate the choice of ‘healthier’ foods and reduce ‘unhealthy’ foods. This qualitative component of a School Food Architecture (SFA) study aimed to determine the perceptions of pupils and staff in relation to school food provision and their perceptions of the intervention. Methods: Pupil focus groups and staff one-to-one interviews. Topic guides were developed from literature and in consultation with a Young Person’s Advisory Group.Thematic analysis was applied. Results: Focus group (n = 4) themes included: dining hall practices, determinants of choice, and aspects of health. Interview themes (n = 8) included: catering practices, health awareness, education, and knowledge of intervention. Pupils liked to purchase hand-held, quick to purchase foods potentially limiting the access to fruits and vegetables. Pupils were aware of ‘healthier’ food choices but would choose other options if available. Conclusions: Schools provide a daily school meal for large numbers of pupils, with time and dining environment constraints. Pupils consume 35–40% of their daily energy intake at school, therefore interventions enabling healthier eating in school are essential, including making healthier choices readily available and accessible.

Publication metadata

Author(s): McSweeney L, Bradley J, Adamson AJ, Spence S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nutrients

Year: 2019

Volume: 11

Issue: 11

Online publication date: 12/11/2019

Acceptance date: 07/11/2019

Date deposited: 12/11/2019

ISSN (electronic): 2072-6643

Publisher: MDPI AG


DOI: 10.3390/nu11112746


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