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Abstract

Objective: To identify sources of food eaten during the school day, the types of foods and frequency of purchases from the canteen and association with SES and weight status in primary school-aged children.

Method: This cross-sectional study was conducted in the Hunter region of New South Wales. Primary schools were randomly selected from a list of government schools and 5,206 students in years 1–6 from the 16 participating schools were invited to participate in the study.

Results: Findings show the majority of children in the study bring their recess snack and lunch from home. However, the majority of children do use the school canteen and less healthy foods and highsugar drinks are commonly purchased.

Conclusions: This study confirms the relevance of the school canteen as a means of affecting children's eating habits.

Implications: Improvement in the foods sold through schools provides an important contribution to model supportive environments for healthy food choices. Strategies should also be directed towards affecting the content of lunchboxes and the home environment.