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Keywords:

  • policy;
  • school;
  • nutrition;
  • food service

Abstract

Objective

In 2006, the Victorian Government adopted the School Canteens and other school Food Services (SCFS) Policy that bans the sale of sweet drinks and confectionary and recommends the proportions of menu items based on a traffic light system of food classification. This study aims to determine whether compliance with the policy improves the nutritional profile of the menus.

Methods

Items from food service menus were assessed for compliance with the SCFS policy and categorised as ‘everyday’ (‘green’), ‘select carefully’ (‘amber’) or ‘occasionally’ (‘red’) (n=106). Profile analysis assessed differences in the nutritional profile of the menus between sub-groups.

Results

Overall, 37% of menus contained items banned under the policy. The largest proportion of items on the assessed menus were from the ‘amber’ category (mean: 51.0%), followed by ‘red’ (29.3%) and ‘green’ (20.3%). No menus met the traffic light-based recommendations and there was no relationship between policy compliance and the proportion of items in each of the three categories.

Conclusions and implications

To increase the healthiness of the school food service we recommend a greater investment in resources and infrastructure to implement existing policies, and establishing stronger monitoring and support systems.