Understanding the factors which influence Healthy school food provision and the young Person’s food choice

  • Kelly Rose

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The nutritional requirements of adolescents and the reported poor eating behaviours
of young people in the UK are an established public health concern. Schools are
recognised as an effective ‘place’ setting to improve young peoples’ nutrition
outcomes. A gap in the understanding of how healthy secondary school food policy
can be sustainable and effective, and the influences on the young person’s school
food choice may hamper progress to improving school food provision and nutrition
education in the UK.
The research incorporated an exploration to understand the secondary school food
environment as a potentially ‘obesogenic’ setting. Including young people’s (11-18
years) eating behaviours, priorities in food choice. Additionally, evidence of effective
school food interventions and policy were of interest. With a pragmatist paradigm,
the overarching aim of this research was to inform a practical guide to a ‘whole
school’ policy approach. Mixed methods were developed and undertaken to
investigate barriers and facilitators, to identify which factors within the school and
beyond could be leveraged to improve the dietary quality of young people and
support a reduction in obesity levels.
A systematic review of effective European school food interventions and policy
revealed a whole school approach was most effective in improving the reduction of
sugar and increased consumption of fruit and vegetables in young people. A mixed
method study demonstrated influences on young people’s eating behaviours exist
at multiple levels.
A practical guide for schools informed by the research is presented in this thesis. An
improvement to secondary school food provision across the school day
incorporating a coherent whole school approach to healthy eating, is recognised as
having potential to significantly improve a young person’s school food choice.
Date of Award27 Jul 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Teesside University
SupervisorAmelia Lake (Supervisor), Louisa Ells (Supervisor), Laura Brown (Supervisor), Claire O'Malley (Supervisor) & Emma Giles (Supervisor)

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