Understanding the social and environmental influencers of eating behaviours has the potential to improve health outcomes for young people. This review aims to explore the effectiveness of school nutrition interventions and the perceptions of young people experiencing a nutrition focused intervention or change in school food policy. A comprehensive systematic search identified studies published between 1 December 2007 to 20 February 2020. Twenty-seven studies were included: 22 quantitative studies of nutrition related outcomes and five qualitative studies reporting views and perceptions of young people (combined sample of 22,138 participants, mean ages 12–18 years). The primary outcome was nutrition knowledge/dietary behaviours, with secondary outcomes exploring body mass index (BMI) and wellbeing. Due to the heterogeneity of studies, a narrative results description is presented. The findings demonstrate that school nutrition programmes can be effective in reducing sugar, sugar sweetened beverages (SSB) and saturated fat and increasing fruit and vegetable (FV) intake. The lived experiences of young people in a school context provide valuable insights that should be considered in the development of effective school food policy and interventions. This review affirms the significant role that schools can play in supporting good nutrition in all young people and provides opportunities to inform the school food agenda.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Mrs Carol Dell Price, Teesside University, for her guidance with literature searches, Prof Alan Batterham, Teesside University, for his advice with data analysis and Dr Tamara Brown for advice and guidance on the manuscript.
© 2021 World Obesity Federation
- food policy