Menu audit of vegetable-containing food offering in primary school canteens in Sydney, Australia: A preliminary study

Janne Beelen, Jessica E. Heffernan, Maeva Cochet-Broch, Shadia Djakovic, David Chung, Rebecca K. Golley, Astrid A.M. Poelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Children’s vegetable intakes are too low, and school canteens could provide an equitable environment to improve their intake. This study aimed to develop and apply a systematic method to quantify the proportion and variety of vegetable-containing items on primary school canteen menus and examine differences between schools of different socio-economic statuses, sizes and types. Online canteen menus from 112 primary schools in Sydney, Australia, were collected, and data were extracted on a total number of items and vegetable-containing items across different menu categories. Further, data on preparation type and variety were extracted. Differences in the proportion of vegetable items between socio-economic status, school size and type were tested. On average, 80.4 ± 34.0 items were listed, with 30% of items containing vegetables. Most sandwiches (60%) and hot foods (54%) contained no vegetables. The variety of raw vegetables (4.9 ± 1.8 types) was greater than for cooked vegetables (1.3 ± 1.2 types; p < 0.01). Limited differences were observed by socio-economic status and school type. Small schools offered fewer vegetable-containing items than large schools. While primary school canteen menus listed a large variety of items, only one-third contained vegetables. Data from this study can be used to track changes and to develop new opportunities to increase the vegetable supply in schools.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11789
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume18
Issue number22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021

Keywords

  • Canteen
  • Child nutrition
  • Food environments
  • Menu audit
  • Primary school
  • Public health
  • Vegetables

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