The application of an experimental food label applied to food served in the selected secondary schools in Greater London and its influence on adolescent food choice

Tucker, Joanne (2022) The application of an experimental food label applied to food served in the selected secondary schools in Greater London and its influence on adolescent food choice. Doctoral thesis, University of West London.

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Abstract

Background: Adolescent obesity is more prevalent in the United Kingdom than in almost any other higher income nation. Providing nutritional information in the form of a food label (FL) is one strategy that has the potential to reduce obesity. School food can theoretically provide a third of an adolescent’s daily calorie intake, yet schools in England have no legislation that guide pupils to the healthiest food choices.
Objectives: The study had three objectives. First, to design an experimental FL in the form of a nutritional food score. Second, to apply the FL to the food on offer in four secondary schools in Greater London and explore if it influences adolescents to select healthier food choices. Third, to appraise which factors adolescents rank as having the greatest influence on their food choice at school to better understand their behaviour.
Methods: Using a pragmatic approach, this study deductively explored through the collection of quantitative survey data at three time points for a total of nine weeks if the FL influenced food choice. Additional survey data revealed which factors adolescents ranked as the most important when selecting food at school. Using an inductive approach with focus groups and thematic analysis the research sought to better understand adolescents’ interpretation of the FL and to comprehend their reasons for ranking these factors. Results: Quantitative results indicated that there was no significant effect on a change in food choices with the application of the FL at any of the four schools and adolescents ranked taste, hunger, health, and nutrition as the most influential factors in their food choices. Qualitative results indicated that adolescents did not understand the FL and using Story et al`s., (2002) conceptual model of adolescent eating behaviour the study identified that there is reciprocal determinism between behaviour and the school environment in both directions.
Conclusion: The FL design did not influence adolescents to select healthier food choices, possibly due to a lack of understanding of the design. Food choices are predominantly based on taste and made using automatic behaviour, but adolescents can be influenced by the individual and social influences, and the effect of the physical environment.
Story, M., Neumark-Sztainer, D. & French, S., (2002). Individual and environmental influences on adolescent eating behaviors. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 102(3 Suppl), pp. S40– S51.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Hospitality and tourism > Culinary arts > Food studies
Depositing User: Joanne Tucker
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2022 08:40
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2022 08:40
URI: http://repository.uwl.ac.uk/id/eprint/9152

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