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Open AccessArticle

Exploring Student Food Behaviour in Relation to Food Retail over the Time of Implementing Ontario’s School Food and Beverage Policy

1
School of Public Health and Health Systems, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON N0B 2J0, Canada
2
Department of Geography, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, USA
3
College of Nursing, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
New address: College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND 58202, USA.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(14), 2563; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16142563
Received: 1 June 2019 / Revised: 27 June 2019 / Accepted: 6 July 2019 / Published: 18 July 2019
Background: Canadian provincial policies, like Ontario’s School Food and Beverage Policy (P/PM 150), increasingly mandate standards for food and beverages offered for sale at school. Given concerns regarding students leaving school to purchase less healthy foods, we examined student behaviours and competitive food retail around schools in a large urban region of Southern Ontario. Methods: Using a geographic information system (GIS), we enumerated food outlets (convenience stores, fast-food restaurants, full-service restaurants) within 500, 1000 and 1500 m of all 389 regional schools spanning years of policy implementation. Consenting grade 6–10 students within 31 randomly selected schools completed a web-based 24-h diet recall (WEB-Q) and questionnaire. Results: Food outlet numbers increased over time (p < 0.01); post-policy, within 1000 m, they averaged 27.31 outlets, with a maximum of 65 fast-food restaurants around one school. Of WEB-Q respondents (n = 2075, mean age = 13.4 ± 1.6 years), those who ate lunch at a restaurant/take-out (n = 84, 4%) consumed significantly more energy (978 vs. 760 kcal), sodium (1556 vs. 1173 mg), and sugar (44.3 vs. 40.1 g). Of elementary and secondary school respondents, 22.1% and 52.4% reported ever eating at fast food outlets during school days. Conclusions: Students have easy access to food retail in school neighbourhoods. The higher energy, sodium and sugar of these options present a health risk. View Full-Text
Keywords: school policy; food; child and adolescent; retail density; energy; sodium; sugar; urban environment; overweight and obesity; GIS school policy; food; child and adolescent; retail density; energy; sodium; sugar; urban environment; overweight and obesity; GIS
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Hanning, R.M.; Luan, H.; Orava, T.A.; Valaitis, R.F.; Jung, J.K.H.; Ahmed, R. Exploring Student Food Behaviour in Relation to Food Retail over the Time of Implementing Ontario’s School Food and Beverage Policy. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 2563.

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