a1 Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
a2 Alberta Institute of Human Nutrition, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
a3 Centre for Health Promotion Studies, School of Public Health, University of Alberta, 1001 College Plaza, 8215-112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2C8, Canada
a4 Sedentary Living Laboratory, Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
a5 School of Education, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia
a6 Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation and School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
a7 Alberta Institute of Human Nutrition, Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
Objective The increasing prevalence of obesity among youth has elicited calls for schools to become more active in promoting healthy weight. The present study examined associations between various aspects of school food environments (specifically the availability of snack- and beverage-vending machines and the presence of snack and beverage logos) and students’ weight status, as well as potential influences of indices of diet and food behaviours.
Design A cross-sectional, self-administered web-based survey. A series of multinomial logistic regressions with generalized estimating equations (GEE) were constructed to examine associations between school environment variables (i.e. the reported presence of beverage- and snack-vending machines and logos) and self-reported weight- and diet-related behaviours.
Setting Secondary schools in Alberta, Canada.
Subjects A total of 4936 students from grades 7 to 10.
Results The presence of beverage-vending machines in schools was associated with the weight status of students. The presence of snack-vending machines and logos was associated with students’ frequency of consuming vended goods. The presence of snack-vending machines and logos was associated with the frequency of salty snack consumption.
Conclusions The reported presence of snack- and beverage-vending machines and logos in schools is related to some indices of weight status, diet and meal behaviours but not to others. The present study supported the general hypothesis that the presence of vending machines in schools may affect students’ weight through increased consumption of vended goods, but notes that the frequency of ‘junk’ food consumption does not seem to be related to the presence of vending machines, perhaps reflecting the ubiquity of these foods in the daily lives of students.
(Received May 15 2010)
(Accepted February 14 2011)
(Online publication March 31 2011)