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From policy to plate: barriers to implementing healthy eating policies in primary schools in Wales

Moore, Sue, Murphy, Simon, Tapper, Katy and Moore, Laurence 2010. From policy to plate: barriers to implementing healthy eating policies in primary schools in Wales. Health Policy 94 (3) , pp. 239-245. 10.1016/j.healthpol.2009.10.001

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Objectives School meal improvement is a major component of UK government policy to improve children's diets. This study investigated the pragmatic influences on local education authority (LEA) and primary school policies affecting the food available during school mealtimes, together with the professional practices of catering staff that further influence the food served. Methods A qualitative case study methodology involving interviews with primary school headteachers, catering managers and staff in a Welsh LEA. Results Whilst reflecting the primary objective of national policy with respect to the nutritional content of the school meal, LEA and school policies were also influenced by multiple, competing interests including parental views, pupil's food preferences or organisational objectives, such as protecting school meal uptake. Tensions existed between food availability and choice such that menus incorporating choices based on children's preferences were viewed as facilitating service viability and prioritised over promoting healthy eating. Conclusions Higher level policy interventions may be limited in their effectiveness if they are undermined by a lack of attention to lower level factors that may compromise their successful implementation. The critical role of school meal providers and school cooks needs to be recognised and strategic partnerships developed to minimise tensions between improved nutritional standards and school meal uptake.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Cardiff Institute of Society and Health (CISHE)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
Uncontrolled Keywords: food preferences; food services; nutrition policy; primary schools; child development
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0168-8510
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2020 16:18

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