SETTING: Childhood obesity is of growing public health concern in Fiji. The study setting was primary schools in Fiji's Western Division.
OBJECTIVE: 1. To assess primary schools' compliance with national school canteen guidelines, 2. to understand reasons for non-compliance, and 3. to assess the relationship between compliance with the guidelines and students' body mass index (BMI).
DESIGN: Cross-sectional analysis of data collected in 2010 by public health dieticians of the Ministry of Health on annual visits to primary schools.
RESULTS: Among 230 schools, 33 (14%) had no canteen data. Of the 197 schools with data, only 31 (16%) were fully compliant with national school canteen guidelines, while the remaining 166 (84%) did not fully comply with the guidelines. This was irrespective of school location or whether the canteen was school or commercially operated. In a random sample (n = 44 schools), overweight and obesity were more common among children in non-compliant schools than in fully compliant schools (40% vs. 32%, P = 0.001).
CONCLUSION: Most primary schools in Fiji's Western Division did not comply with school canteen guidelines, which is worrying given the increasing rates of overweight children. Given the association between non-compliance and student overweight/obesity, further action is needed to ensure that these guidelines are implemented.
Varman, S.; Bullen, C.; Tayler-Smith, K.; Van den Bergh, R.; Khogali, M. Primary school compliance with school canteen guidelines in Fiji and its association with student obesity. Public Health Action (2013) 3 (1) 81-84. [DOI: 10.5588/pha.12.0063]