THE PROMOTION OF HEALTHY EATING IN CHILDREN THROUGH SCHOOL SNACK AND LUNCH PROGRAMS IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS IN SASKATOON
ABSTRACT School snack and lunch programs (SSLP) in Canada are of growing interest as solutions to the rising obesity and food insecurity are sought. SSLP offer nourishment to hungry students during school hours but they also have the ability to influence children’s eating habits, to establish sustainable and healthy eating patterns and to thereby prevent childhood overweight and obesity. The purpose of this multiple case study was to 1) gain an understanding of elementary school student and staff perceptions of school snacks and lunches, and 2) examine the impact of a SSLP on children’s food choices. Data was collected through a survey with the principals and community school coordinators of 13 elementary schools in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and group interviews with students who were the primary beneficiaries of a SSLP. Results showed that both students and staff had positive views of their schools’ snacks and lunches, and believed that the SSLP provides a platform for promoting healthy eating. This study also revealed that the SSLP may have motivated students to practice healthy eating both in and outside of school. The results reinforce the importance of school-based programs in promoting healthy lifestyles among children.
Healthy, Eating, Snack, Lunch
Master of Science (M.Sc.)
Community Health and Epidemiology
Community and Population Health Science