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Open AccessReview

Measurement Methods Used to Assess the School Food Environment: A Systematic Review

1
Department of Nutrition, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Oslo, 0317 Oslo, Norway
2
Division Human Nutrition, University of Cape Town, UCT Medical Campus, Cape Town 7925, South Africa
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Global Obesity Centre (GLOBE), Faculty of Health, Institute for Health Transformation, Deakin University, Geelong VIC 3217, Australia
4
Deakin Rural Health, School of Medicine, Deakin University, Geelong VIC 3217, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(5), 1623; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051623
Received: 10 January 2020 / Revised: 20 February 2020 / Accepted: 22 February 2020 / Published: 3 March 2020
Children consume approximately half of their total daily amount of energy at school. Foods consumed are often energy-dense, nutrient-poor. The school food environment represents an effective setting to influence children’s food choices when dietary habits are established and continue to track into adulthood. The aim of this review was to: (1) group methods used for assessing the school food environment according to four food environment dimensions: Physical, economic, socio-cultural and policy and (2) assess the quality of the methods according to four criteria: Comprehensiveness, relevance, generalizability and feasibility. Three databases were searched, and studies were used to assess food and beverages provided at school canteens, tuck shops or cafeterias were included. The review identified 38 global studies (including 49 methods of measuring the food environment). The physical environment was the primary focus for 47% of articles, aspects of policy environment was assessed by 37% articles and a small number of studies assessed the economic (8%) and socio cultural (8%) environment. Three methods were rated ‘high’ quality and seven methods received ‘medium’ quality ratings. The review revealed there are no standardized methods used to measure the school food environment. Robust methods to monitor the school food environment across a range of diverse country contexts is required to provide an understanding of obesogenic school environments. View Full-Text
Keywords: school food environment; diet; measurement methods; INFORMAS; obesity; canteens; tuck shops; cafeterias school food environment; diet; measurement methods; INFORMAS; obesity; canteens; tuck shops; cafeterias
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MDPI and ACS Style

O’Halloran, S.; Eksteen, G.; Gebremariam, M.; Alston, L. Measurement Methods Used to Assess the School Food Environment: A Systematic Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 1623. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051623

AMA Style

O’Halloran S, Eksteen G, Gebremariam M, Alston L. Measurement Methods Used to Assess the School Food Environment: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(5):1623. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051623

Chicago/Turabian Style

O’Halloran, Siobhan; Eksteen, Gabriel; Gebremariam, Mekdes; Alston, Laura. 2020. "Measurement Methods Used to Assess the School Food Environment: A Systematic Review" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 17, no. 5: 1623. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051623

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