Towards building healthy school communities through healthy food access.

Callaghan, Mary
Molcho, Michal
Nic Gabhainn, Saoirse
Kelly, Colette
Callaghan, M., Molcho, M., Nic Gabhainn, S. & Kelly, C. (2014) Towards building healthy school communities through healthy food access Health Promotion Research Centre 18th Annual Summer Conference: Applying the principles of health promotion to population health improvement
One of the goals of health promotion is to make it easier for people to make the healthy choice. Enabling students to make the healthy choice by improving access to, and availability of, healthy foods is essential in promoting population health. The aim of this study was to explore food availability inside and outside of post-primary schools in Ireland. Schools (n=119) that took part in the 2010 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study were invited to participate in an online questionnaire which included questions on the internal school food environment. Data were collected from 63 post-primary schools (response rate 55%). The external food environment was characterised by mapping food business locations within 1 kilometre of schools, using ArcGIS 10. Food businesses were categorised based on type of food sold. The majority of schools (68.3%) reported having a canteen, over half (52.5%) had a small food shop and more than a third (37.1%) had a vending machine. Of the schools surveyed, 96.8% had 1 or more food selling businesses, and 75% had 1 or more fast-food businesses within 1 kilometre of the school. This presentation will describe food available in post-primary schools and the categorisation of food businesses in Ireland. The challenges of improving healthy food availability for school communities will be discussed.
Health Promotion Research Centre, NUI Galway
Publisher DOI
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Ireland