Close menu


Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Observation and assessment of the nutritional quality of ‘out of school’ foods popular with secondary school pupils at lunchtime

Crawford, Fiona, Mackison, Dionne, Mooney, John and Ellaway, Anne (2017) Observation and assessment of the nutritional quality of ‘out of school’ foods popular with secondary school pupils at lunchtime. BMC Public Health, 17 (887). ISSN 1471-2458

Item Type: Article


Background: The contemporary Scottish diet is unhealthy and a risk factor for poor health outcomes including
obesity. Over a third of Scottish children are at risk of being overweight or obese, and there have been calls to
strengthen the evidence base on the role of the food retail environment around schools in influencing the
consumption of unhealthy foods.
Methods: We examined the food retail environment around five secondary schools in Glasgow city, Scotland.
Trained fieldworkers observed the food purchasing behaviour of school pupils in local shops. Samples of the most popular foods were subsequently purchased by the research team and assessed for nutritional content, including energy, total and saturated fat, and salt. This was compared with the nutrient standards for school lunches established by the Scottish Government.
Results: There was marked variation in the number of outlets identified within a 10 min walk from each school,
ranging from five in the area with the lowest number of outlets to thirty in the area with the highest number of
outlets. Outlets identified were heterogeneous and included fish and chip shops, kebab shops, convenience stores, newsagents, bakeries, mobile catering units, cafés, pizzerias, sandwich shops and supermarkets. Lunchtime offers and other marketing strategies targeting school pupils were observed at most outlets. Nutritional analysis of the 45 savoury food items purchased was conducted by laboratory staff. Of the foods analysed, 49% of the samples exceeded recommended calorie intake, 58% exceeded total fat recommendations and 64% exceeded saturated fat recommendations, 42% exceeded recommended salt levels. Over 80% of the 45 food items sampled did not comply with one of more of the nutrient standards for fat, saturated fat and salt. Meal deals and promotions of
unhealthy foods aimed at pupils were widely available.
Conclusions: The majority of pupils purchased unhealthy convenience food of poor nutritional value at lunchtime
in local shops around their school. Further effort is required to implement regulatory levers such as taxation on unhealthy foods, restriction on the concentration of outlets selling unhealthy foods as well as the development of partnerships and additional measures within and beyond schools to promote healthy foods.

PDF (Secondary School Fast Food Outlets in Glasgpw)
2ndrySchoolsStudy_BMCpubhlth_Nov2017.pdf - Published Version

Download (1MB) | Preview

More Information

Depositing User: John Mooney


Item ID: 8413
Identification Number:
ISSN: 1471-2458
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for John Mooney: ORCID iD
ORCID for Anne Ellaway: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2017 08:45
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2019 16:05


Author: John Mooney ORCID iD
Author: Anne Ellaway ORCID iD
Author: Fiona Crawford
Author: Dionne Mackison

University Divisions

Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing
Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing > School of Nursing and Health Sciences


Sciences > Health Sciences

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item