Table of Contents
ISRN Nutrition
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 501450, 8 pages
Research Article

Children’s Food and Drink Purchasing Behaviour “Beyond the School Gate”: The Development of a Survey Module

1Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care, University of Hertfordshire, College Lane, Hatfield AL10 9AB, UK
2Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, University of Aberdeen, Polwarth Building, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, UK
3Institute of Applied Health Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Polwarth Building, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, UK
4Centre for Population Health Sciences, The University of Edinburgh Medical School, Teviot Place, Edinburgh EH8 9AG, UK
5Public Health Nutrition Research Group, University of Aberdeen, Polwarth Building, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, UK

Received 30 November 2012; Accepted 9 January 2013

Academic Editors: H. Kalhoff and K. Stokes

Copyright © 2013 Wendy J. Wills et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Many children eat a diet which supplies a higher than recommended amount of nonmilk extrinsic sugars and saturated fatty acids. The school setting is often targeted for nutrition intervention as many children consume food at school. In Scotland, attempts have been made to improve the nutritional content of food in schools and attention has now turned to food and drink available “beyond the school gate.” This paper describes the development of a module on food and drink purchasing behaviour. The Food Purchasing Module was designed to collect data, for the first time, from a representative sample of children aged 8–16 years about food and drinks purchased on the way to/from school, during break time/free periods, and at lunchtime, from outlets around schools. Cognitive testing of the module highlighted that younger children find self-completion questionnaires problematic. Older children have fewer problems with self-completion questionnaires but many do not follow question routing, which has implications for the delivery of future surveys. Development of this survey module adds much needed evidence about effectively involving children in surveys. Further research exploring food and drinks purchased beyond the school gate is needed to continue to improve the nutritional quality of children’s diets.