Research Article - Journal of Public Health and Nutrition (2020) Volume 3, Issue 6
How can health-promoting nutrition be offered at schools? A method for evaluating and optimizing school cafeterias.
Background: Studies have shown that eating behavior can be beneficially modified by changing the range of goods at school cafeterias. But most of these studies do not take the entire food and beverage offer into consideration and are also not feasible regarding all settings. Therefore, the research question is: Is the developed method and evaluation tool suitable for recording and optimizing the range of goods at school cafeterias and making it health-promoting? Methods: Our study was implemented at 9 schools in Tyrol, Western Austria, where 6.597 students are taught. The developed method for the optimization of the food offer is divided into five phases and was designed as a tele project. The developed evaluation tool includes 29 criteria, which were defined as quantifiable objectives and assigned to 11 food groups. Descriptive statistics and the Wilcoxon Signed Rank test for paired and unpaired samples were used for data analysis. Results: The average proportion of criteria fulfilled was increased from 60 to 86 percent. At the end of the study, all school cafeterias could be classified as health-promoting. Ten criteria changed significantly. The biggest changes were in the food groups "vegetables", "warm snacks", and "pastries". Conclusion: With the developed method, it is possible to improve the food and beverage offer, regardless of the type of school cafeteria. The evaluation tool itself offered a clear orientation and individually achievable goals. The implementation of the method, which is based on teleinstruction, proved to be feasible, time, and cost effective.Author(s): Tamara Knopf, Julia Schatzer, Wolfgang Schobersberger*, Friedrich Hoppichler, Birgit Wild, Manuel Schatzer