This abstract offers highlight of a knowledge synthesis on the implementation process for policies, programs or measures favourable to healthy eating in the schools. The data reported concerns schools at the elementary and secondary levels. The synthesis reveals a portrait of the favourable factors and obstacles to implementing school food policies, as well as describing a systematic approach to maximize the chances of success of this implementation. This knowledge will be useful to any individual or organization who wishes to contribute to the success of the Québec Framework Policy on Healthy Eating and Active Living, Going the healthy route at school (Québec, 2007).
This synthesis documents experiences of implementing policies, programs or measures to promote healthy eating in the schools in socio-economic and cultural contexts comparable to the situation in Canada. This data has been made accessible so that this knowledge can be applied within the Québec context.
In this case, the term, implementing, refers to the adoption of local policies by school boards and private schools, as well as the process by which each school community applies the policy and introduces measures adapted to its specific situation.
To define the scope of the study, the synthesis seeks to answer the following questions:
- Are school food policies effective in countering problems related to weight and in promoting the health of young people? £ What is a school food policy? What distinguishes it from programs, measures and other interventions that promote healthy eating and lifestyles? How does the food policy operate in regard to other interventions?
- What should be the content of a food policy in schools?
- What are the favourable factors and obstacles to implementing the policy on the socio-economic, cultural, political and organizational levels?
- What approach should be adopted locally to maximize the success of a policy implemented to promote healthy eating in the schools?
To answer these questions, the synthesis has drawn from several sources of additional data:
- A survey of synthesis and systematic reviews of the efficiency of food policies;
- A survey of scientific articles on the conditions for the success of policies, programs and dietary measures in schools and, particularly, the favourable factors and obstacles to their implementation;
- A consultation among the players concerned by school food policies in Québec;
- A continuous scientific intelligence process.