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Nutrition positive : an incentive program in Saskatoon elementary schools. A case study and preliminary process evaluation



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ABSTRACT The purpose of this qualitative case study was to gain an informed understanding of the views of elementary school staff about the characteristics of the Nutrition Positive incentive program including: program development, implementation strategies used by individual schools, and challenges and related concerns associated with program implementation. As an initial step in a process evaluation, knowledge was gained through document analysis, site observations and 14 semi-structured interviews with principals, teachers and nutrition coordinators in 4 Greater Saskatoon Catholic, and 4 Saskatoon Public, Saskatchewan schools. Findings were then compared and contrasted with three models for ‘best practice’ from the scientific literature and related to school health, education, and promotion. The results led to the following conclusions. Nutrition Positive serves as an entry point for health promotion in Saskatoon elementary schools. While providing principals, teachers and other school staff with the necessary supports to enable children to learn critical life and health skills, it is also practical and realistic. The program can easily be adapted to different age and developmental levels, and a variety of cultures. The Advisory Committee and the program manual provide multiple resources to facilitate implementation. Schools may adapt the program for use across curricula, within school timetables, and concurrent with other health-related programs. Nutrition Positive schools attempt to provide healthy, “serve most often” foods for student mealtimes, special events, fundraising activities, vending machines and classroom rewards. While the program appears to be sustainable, it needs to specify measurable objectives and requires a better design for its assessment, monitoring and evaluation components. It is recommended that schools include all stakeholders, including parents and students, when forming a school-based program committee. Committee members need to participate in developing written school policies and guidelines, as well as learning about healthy eating themselves. School activities and foods offered need to more consistently and uniformly compliment the curriculum and program goals and objectives. In order to expand, program materials need to be widely publicized, communicated in a timely manner, culturally relevant, and available in languages in addition to English.



School Health Index, qualitative research, child health, Comprehensive School Health and Promotion, WHO, Action for Healthy Kids, school health, obesity, overweight



Master of Science (M.Sc.)







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