How teachers perceive healthy eating and physical activity of primary school children

Hülya Yüksel, Meltem Çengel Schoville

Abstract


Raising healthy individuals is a sine qua non of education. Healthy eating plays an important role in the development of children. Childhood is a key period for acquiring and sustaining lifelong healthy eating and physical activity habits. Hence, the main purpose of this study is to evaluate the healthy eating and physical activity behaviors of primary school children from the perspective of teachers. We use Bronfenbrenner's social ecological model as our conceptual framework to take into account the multi-layered structure of the issue at hand, examining the chronosystem, policies, institutions, interpersonal relationships and individual factors. Based on maximum diversity sampling, a total of 11 teachers were interviewed from six Turkish schools at different socio-economic levels. The data were analyzed using descriptive and content analysis methods. Attributes related to consumer society impact the implications of school policies. Even with mandated changes at the local and national policy levels to increase the availability of healthy food at school canteens, children have easy access to and an appetite for unhealthy foods. Policy decisions are closely related to school conditions as well as parental, peers and teacher profiles. The present study underscores the multi-dimensional nature of school health-promoting policies with a holistic perspective.

Keywords


Healthy eating; Physical activity; School health; Primary school children; Teacher opinions; Obesity

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References


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