Governments across the world use guidelines and policy to support improving the quality and nutrition in school canteens, yet little is known about what makes for a success in supporting school canteens. This study aimed to investigate the factors influencing implementation of healthy school canteen policy.
A qualitative descriptive approach using interviews with a purposive sample of Victorian schools who had successfully implemented a healthy school canteen was conducted. Twelve interviews were conducted with principals (n=4), assistant principal (n=1), canteen managers (n=5), food services manager (n=1) and canteen staff members (n=3) across six Victorian schools. Data were analysed using a content analysis approach.
Three key themes explained adoption of policy: Values – emphasising service over profit; Knowledge – understanding of nutrition and the policy; and Support – from within and external to the school.
Implementation of school canteen policy is more likely to be achieved when a school can focus on the service and educative component of the policy and where there is a shared priority for healthy eating across the entire school community. SO WHAT?: Creating a culture of service and community engagement with a healthy school canteen may increase policy implementation and should be the focus of future health promotion efforts.