Government food service policies and guidelines do not create healthy school canteens
Article first published online: 5 APR 2011
© 2011 The Authors. ANZJPH © 2011 Public Health Association of Australia
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Volume 35, Issue 2, pages 117–121, April 2011
How to Cite
de Silva-Sanigorski, A., Breheny, T., Jones, L., Lacy, K., Kremer, P., Carpenter, L., Bolton, K., Prosser, L., Gibbs, L., Waters, E. and Swinburn, B. (2011), Government food service policies and guidelines do not create healthy school canteens. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 35: 117–121. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2010.00694.x
- Issue published online: 5 APR 2011
- Article first published online: 5 APR 2011
- Submitted: July 2010 Revision requested: October 2010 Accepted: November 2010
- food service
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.
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.
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.