School-based nutrition promotion is critical to the development of healthy eating habits in adolescents. Unfortunately, most Indian secondary schools do not support healthy eating among adolescents. Therefore, this study was designed to understand the perspectives of teachers and parents regarding the potential barriers to nutrition promotion in Indian secondary schools. Thirty-two teachers and 280 parents from five private English-speaking secondary schools in Kolkata, India took part in a cross-sectional survey. The paper-based survey instrument included both quantitative and qualitative items which were derived from previously published evidence. Descriptive and chi-square analyses were conducted on the quantitative data. Qualitative data were evaluated by thematic data analysis underpinned by the template analysis technique. Five main barriers to nutrition promotion emerged from the study. These included the perceived strong preference for energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods among students; lack of government canteen guidelines; limited engagement of parents, teachers, and adolescents in canteen operations; the widespread display of eye-catching food advertisements; and poor knowledge among canteen personnel with regards to healthy food preparation. These findings about the potential barriers to nutrition promotion provide useful directions for healthy school food policy implementation. Successful implementation of healthy school food policies can inculcate lifelong healthy eating habits among adolescents.
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