The provision of healthy food in a school tuck shop : does it influence Bloemfontein primary school learners’ perceptions, attitudes and behaviour towards healthy eating

Bekker, Francette (2012-12)

Thesis (MNutr)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Introduction and Objectives: Schools can serve as a supportive environment for the promotion of healthy eating in order to prevent childhood overweight and obesity and the development of noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes mellitus, fatty liver disease, muscoskeletal disorders and some cancers. Tuck shops at schools often offer unhealthy items that are energy dense and high in fat and/or sugar with a low content of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre. The availability of unhealthy items in tuck shops prevents learners from making healthy food choices, since children tend to choose unhealthy foods when given a choice. In addition to unhealthy items offered by tuck shops, learners also bring unhealthy items to school in their lunchboxes. The aim of the study was to investigate the influence of a nutritionally-regulated tuck shop on primary school learners’ perceptions, attitudes and behaviour towards healthy eating in a Bloemfontein, Afrikaans medium, co-education primary school, and compare it to learners of a school with a conventional tuck shop. Methods: In a cross-sectional survey with an analytical component, grade 2 to 7 learners in a school with a nutritionally-regulated tuck shop (n=116) and a school with a conventional tuck shop (n=141) completed a questionnaire. Six learners per grade also took part in focus group discussions. Questions related to lunchbox contents and perceptions, attitudes and behaviour towards the tuck shop and healthy eating. Nutritional information of the items available for purchase at each of the school tuck shops was collected. Results: The lunchboxes of learners in the school with a nutritionally-regulated tuck shop contained significantly (p<0.05) more healthy items (fruit, water and muffins), as well as significantly more unhealthy items (sweets and chips). The items offered by the nutritionally-regulated tuck shop contained approximately half the kilojoules compared to items offered by the conventional tuck shop. Learners in the school with a nutritionally-regulated tuck shop liked certain fruits and vegetables significantly (p<0.05) more than learners in the school with a conventional tuck shop. Statistical significant differences (p<0.05) between different grades and gender showed that grade 2 learners in both schools had a less positive attitude towards certain fruit and vegetables compared to the older learners, while girls in both schools were more positive towards certain fruits and vegetables compared to boys. Younger learners had a more positive attitude towards their nutritionally-regulated tuck shop than older learners. In both schools learners had similar perceptions regarding the particular school’s tuck shop and healthy eating. Conclusion: The hypothesis that learners in a school with a nutritionally-regulated tuck shop have positive attitudes, perceptions and behaviour towards healthy eating was rejected. The availability of healthier items in a school tuck shop had a positive influence on certain behaviours and attitudes of learners, but the potential value of controlling the type of items available for purchase at schools might be counteracted by lunchbox contents, certain fixed eating patterns, perceptions of learners and previous exposure to a conventional tuck shop. Recommendations include a multi-pronged approach such as the Health Promoting Schools concept.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Inleiding en doelwitte: Skole bied ‘n omgewing waar goeie eetgewoontes bevorder kan word ten einde oorgewig en vetsug in kinders te voorkom, asook die ontwikkeling van nie-oordraagbare siektes soos kardiovaskulêre siektes, tipe-2 diabetes mellitus, lewervervetting sindroom, ortopediese komplikasies en sekere soorte kanker. Snoepies in skole voorsien meestal ongesonde items met ‘n hoë energie, vet- en/of suikerinhoud en wat laag is in vitamiene, minerale en dieetvesel. Die beskikbaarheid van ongesonde items in snoepies verhoed dat leerders gesonde voelselkeuses uitoefen, omdat kinders geneig is om voorkeur aan ongesonde kos te gee as hulle 'n keuse gebied word. Benewens die ongesonde items wat snoepies aanbied, neem leerders boonop ongesonde kos in hul kosblikke skooltoe. Die doel van die studie was om by 'n Afrikaans dubbelmedium laerskool in Bloemfontein die invloed van ‘n voedingkundig-gereguleerde snoepie op leerders se persepsies, houdings en gedrag teenoor gesonde eetgewoontes te ondersoek en te vergelyk met leerders in 'n skool met 'n konvensionele snoepie. Metodes: In ‘n deursnit-opname met ‘n analitiese komponent, het graad 2 tot 7 leerders in ‘n skool met ‘n voedingkundig-gereguleerde snoepie (n=116) en ‘n skool met ‘n konvensionele snoepie (n=141), ‘n vraelys ingevul. Ses leerders in elke graad in elk van die skole het ook aan fokusgroepbesprekings deelgeneem. Vrae het oor die inhoud van kosblikke, asook persepsies, houding en gedrag teenoor die snoepie en gesonde eetgewoontes, gehandel. Voedingsinligting rakende die items wat in elk van die skole se snoepies verkoop word, is ook ingesamel. Resultate: Die kosblikke van leerders in ‘n skool met ‘n voedingkundig-gereguleerde snoepie het statisties beduidend (p<0.05) meer gesonde items bevat (vrugte, water en muffins), maar ook beduidend meer ongesonde items (lekkergoed en aartappelskyfies). Voedsel-items wat in die voedingkundig-gereguleerde snoepie beskikbaar was, het omtrent die helfte minder energie bevat as voedsel-items wat in die konvensionele snoepie beskikbaar was. Leerders in ‘n skool met ‘n voedingkundig-gereguleerde snoepie het beduidend (p<0.05) meer van sekere groente en vrugte gehou as leerders in ‘n skool met ‘n konvensionele snoepie. Statisties beduidende (p<0.05) verskille tussen verskillende grade en die houding van verskillende geslagte dui daarop dat graad 2 leerders in albei skole minder positief gevoel het oor sekere groente en vrugte as ouer leerders, terwyl meisies in albei skole ‘n meer positiewe houding teenoor sekere groente en vrugte getoon het as seuns. Jonger leerders het ‘n meer positiewe houding teenoor hulle voedingkundig-gereguleerde snoepie getoon as ouer leerders. In albei skole het leerders soortgelyke persepsies rondom hul onderskeie skole se snoepies en gesonde eetgewoontes openbaar. Gevolgtrekking: Die hipotese dat leerders in ‘n skool met ‘n voedingkundig-gereguleerde snoepie positiewe persepsies, houding en gedrag teenoor gesonde eetgewoontes toon is nie aanvaar nie. Die beskikbaarheid van gesonder items in ‘n skoolsnoepie het 'n positiewe invloed op sekere eetgewoontes en houdings van die leerders, maar die potensiële waarde daarvan om die tipes voedsel wat by skole te koop aangebied word te reguleer mag egter teengewerk word deur kosblikke se inhoud asook sekere vaste eetpatrone, persepsies van leerders en vorige blootstelling aan ‘n konvensionele snoepie. ‘n Veelvoudige benadering soos die konsep van ‘n Gesondheidbevorderingskool word aanbeveel.

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