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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 98, Issue 4, pp 246–250 | Cite as

Food Sales Outlets, Food Availability, and the Extent of Nutrition Policy Implementation in Schools in British Columbia

  • Karen Rideout
  • Ryna Levy-Milne
  • Carla Martin
  • Aleck S. OstryEmail author
Article

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.

MeSH terms

British Columbia food nutrition policy schools vending machines 

Résumé

Contexte

Cette étude visait à déterminer le nombre et la catégorie des points de vente de denrées alimentaires dans les écoles de la Colombie-Britannique, le type d’aliments vendus en milieu scolaire et la mesure dans laquelle les écoles mettent en oeuvre une politique nutritionnelle. Nous avons aussi directement mesuré le nombre et le genre de collations proposées dans les distributeurs automatiques des écoles.

Méthode

D’après les résultats d’une enquête bibliographique approfondie et les conseils d’un groupe de nutritionnistes, nous avons élaboré un instrument pour mesurer 1) le nombre et le genre d’aliments vendus dans les distributeurs automatiques, 2) le genre d’aliments vendus dans l’ensemble des points de vente de denrées alimentaires en milieu scolaire et 3) la prévalence des politiques nutritionnelles dans les écoles.

Résultats

Nous avons obtenu un taux de réponse d’environ 70 % à notre enquête. Quelque 60 % des écoles sondées avaient un point de vente de denrées alimentaires permanent. Les distributeurs automatiques de collations et de boissons étaient surtout présents dans les écoles secondaires, tandis que les comptoirs à provisions et les campagnes de financement par la vente d’aliments étaient plus courants dans les écoles primaires. Nous avons compté très peu de distributeurs automatiques de collations dans les écoles primaires, mais les comptoirs à provisions y vendaient les articles que l’on trouve communément dans ces machines. Environ le quart des écoles avaient officiellement mandaté un groupe pour s’occuper de nutrition. Ces écoles étaient plus susceptibles d’avoir instauré une politique nutritionnelle.

Conclusion

Au primaire comme au secondaire, la « malbouffe » est très présente dans les divers points de vente de denrées alimentaires dans les écoles. Bien que les distributeurs automatiques soient pratiquement absents des écoles primaires, les comptoirs à provisions et les campagnes de financement par la vente d’aliments proposent tous les produits que l’on trouve en général dans les distributeurs de collations, ce qui annule en grande partie l’effet positif de l’absence de ces machines au primaire. Par ailleurs, les groupes responsables de la nutrition dans les écoles semblent exercer un effet positif sur la mise en oeuvre de politiques nutritionnelles.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen Rideout
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ryna Levy-Milne
    • 2
  • Carla Martin
    • 1
  • Aleck S. Ostry
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Geography, Faculty of Social ScienceUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of Land and Food SystemsUniversity of British ColumbiaCanada

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