Aim: The aim of the current study is to describe the demographic characteristics and food choices of school canteen/tuckshop users.
Method: Data for the current study were collected as part of the 2002 National Children's Nutrition Survey. 3275 students aged 5 to 14 completed a food frequency questionnaire and food habits interview.
Results: More than half of all students (58%) bought some or most of their food and drink from the school canteen. Among younger students, canteen users were more likely to be Māori or Pacific people and from more economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Most of the older students, (74%) bought most or some of their food consumed at school from the school canteen and few demographic differences were statistically significant. Canteen use was associated with frequent consumption of some high-sugar/high-fat foods in a dose response manner, even after controlling for how much or how little food students brought from home or bought at dairies/takeaway shops. Among younger students, canteen users were significantly more likely to drink soft drinks (i.e. carbonated drinks such as cola) 5+ times a week, eat meat pies/sausage rolls 3+ times a week, and have chocolate/sweets/lollies (candy) 4+ times, a week. Older students using the school canteen were significantly less likely to eat the recommended 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables daily and more likely to be frequent consumers of pies and sausage rolls and chocolate/sweets/lollies.
Conclusion: As canteen use was associated with frequent consumption of some high-sugar/high-fat foods, school canteens should be encouraged to offer more healthy food options, make healthier foods cheaper and more desirable for students, and limit the availability of less healthy foods.
|Journal||New Zealand Medical Journal|
|Publication status||Published - 26 Jan 2007|