Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Journal of Environmental and Public Health
Volume 2012, Article ID 415746, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/415746
Research Article

The Healthy School Canteen Programme: A Promising Intervention to Make the School Food Environment Healthier

The Netherlands Nutrition Centre, P.O. Box 85700, 2508 CK The Hague, The Netherlands

Received 5 January 2012; Revised 6 March 2012; Accepted 26 March 2012

Academic Editor: Stef P. J. Kremers

Copyright © 2012 Fréderike Mensink 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.

Abstract

The environment can exert a strong influence on people's food decisions. In order to facilitate students to make more healthy food choices and to develop healthy eating habits, it is important that the school food environment is healthy. The Healthy School Canteen programme of The Netherlands Nutrition Centre is an intervention that helps schools to make their cafeteria's offering healthier. A descriptive study was conducted by an independent research agency to survey the perceptions, experiences, and opinions of users of the programme (school directors, parents, students, and health professionals). Results show that directors and students of participating schools perceive their cafeteria's offering to be healthier after implementing the programme than prior to implementation. Next, further important results of the study are highlighted and relations with other projects, caveats, and practical recommendations are discussed. It is concluded that the Healthy School Canteen programme is a promising intervention to change the school food environment but that further research is needed to ultimately establish its effectiveness. Also, it will be a challenge to motivate all schools to enroll in the programme in order to achieve the goal of the Dutch Government of all Dutch school cafeterias being healthy by 2015.