'They're Nutritious and Delicious': The lmpact of Government Healthy Eating lnitiatives On Two British Primary Schools.
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Poor diets and food choices have played a major role in the rising number of children becoming overweight and obese. Numerous factors have been blamed for this "epidemic", Such as: the media and advertising; parental influence; socio-economic background, and nutrition education. This concern has long been recognised and the government has implemented healthy eating strategies in order to slow and eventually reverse this trend. The school has been acknowledged as being a valuable institution in which to implement such initiatives and for this reason healthy eating schemes have been put into practice across many schools in England and Wales. The present study focused on these healthy eating initiatives within a school in England and a school in Wales, and explored teachers' dinner ladies'and parent's perceptions of these proposals in relation to the pupils behaviour, concentration and academic performance. The research used a qualitative method of enquiry. Eight semi-structured interviews were carried out within these schools as well as documentary analysis, using current government, county, and school based policies on school healthy eating initiatives. The socio-economic differences between these schools were taken into account by looking at the percentage of pupils who were eligible to free school meals. The school in Wales had an extremely low percentage compared with the school in England. It was found that similar initiatives have been implemented in both schools. Healthy school meals were noticed as being the most prominent of them all. The participants involved in this study were fully supportive of their healthy eating initiatives and their views on them were quite positive but slightly different perceptions were obtained from the two schools. The school in England alleged that healthy eating initiatives posed quite an impact on their pupils in terms of their behaviour, concentration and academic performance, whilst the participants in the school in Wales expressed opposing views. They were not convinced that their initiatives had such an obvious impact on the pupils and they were quite reluctant to agree that healthy eating initiatives were the cause of any changes in pupils'behaviour. Because the school in England was recognised as having a high percentage of pupils from more disadvantaged backgrounds, it was suggested that healthy eating initiatives are much more appreciated amongst those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds where healthy foods are less accessible.
BA (Hons) Educational Studies with Early Childhood Studies.
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