The school food environment - Associations with adolescent soft drink and snack consumption

KA van der Horst, A Timperio, D Crawford, R Roberts, J Brug, A Oenema

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

102 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Because students may purchase food and drinks ill and around their schools, the school food environment may be important for obesity-related eating behaviors such as soft drink and snack consumption. However, research exploring the associations between school environments and specific eating behaviors is sparse. Methods: Associations of the availability of canteen food and drinks, the presence of food stores around schools, and individual cognitions (attitudes, norms, modeling perceived behavioral control, and intentions) with soft drink and snack consumption were examined ill a cross-sectional study (2005-2006) among 1293 adolescents aged 12-15 years. Soft drink 9 1 and snack consumption mid related cognitions were assessed with self-administered questionnaires. The presence of food stores and the distance to the nearest food store were calculated within a 500-meter buffer around each school. Data on the availability of soft drinks and snacks ill school c canteens were gathered by observation. In 2007, multilevel regression models were run to analyze associations and mediation pathways between cognitions, environmental factors, and behaviors. Results: Adolescents' attitudes, subjective norms, parental and peer modeling, and intentions were positively associated with soft drink and snack consumption. There was an inverse association between the distance to the nearest store and the number of small Food stores with soft drink consumption. These effects were mediated partly by cognitions. Conclusions: This study provided little evidence for associations of environmental factors ill the school environment With Soft drink and snack consumption. Individual cognitions appeared to be stronger correlates of intake than physical school-environmental Factors. Longitudinal research is needed to confirm these findings.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)217-223
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Cite this