Most European children and adolescents do not meet dietary guidelines. Therefore, there is a need to develop and implement effective strategies to help young people adopt healthier dietary habits and maintain these into adulthood. The amount of time that children and adolescents spend in the school setting makes this an ideal environment in which to develop interventions that target healthy eating. Schools, however, are complex systems and a whole‐school approach that promotes consistent messages within the school environment and across the curriculum is needed to support positive food choices. Given current concerns about climate change and the environment, it is also important to ensure that any nutrition interventions implemented in the school setting are environmentally friendly and do not increase food wastage. This paper presents the results of stakeholder discussions on the topic of secondary school food in Northern Ireland, conducted as part of the recently developed European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT) Food School Network. The Network was established to facilitate the exchange of information within existing national schools programmes and to identify and develop strategies that positively impact on food choice and food wastage in schools across Europe. Improving schools’ adherence to the Food in Schools Policy and engaging pupils and parents to encourage a sense of ‘ownership’ of the school food system were identified as potential ways to positively impact on the dietary habits of children and adolescents.
T. Capper, S. Brennan, J. Woodside