The effects of the Food Dudes Programme on children's intake of unhealthy foods at lunchtime.Perspect Public Health. 2015 May; 135(3):152-9.PP
Although previous research has shown the Food Dudes Programme increases children's lunchtime fruit and vegetable consumption, research has seldom evaluated whether the intervention can decrease the consumption of high-fat and high-sugar foods. This study is the first, independent evaluation of the Food Dudes Programme to explore whether the programme could change children's lunchtime fruit and vegetable consumption and consumption of high-fat and high-sugar foods following the intervention and explore any relationship between these variables.
The Food Dudes Programme was evaluated in 15 primary schools in the West Midlands, United Kingdom (n = 2,433) at baseline (pre-intervention), and three months and 12 months post-intervention. Consumption was measured across five consecutive days in each school using weighed intake (school-provided meals) and digital photography (home-provided meals).
A significant increase in the consumption of lunchtime fruit and vegetables was found at three months for children in the intervention schools, but only for those eating school-supplied lunches. For children consuming school meals, consumption of high-fat and high-sugar foods for children in the intervention and control schools increased over time. No relationship was found between increases in fruit and vegetable consumption and decrease in consumption of high-fat and high-sugar foods following the Food Dudes intervention.
The Food Dudes Programme has a limited effect on decreasing consumption of high-fat and high-sugar foods at lunchtime. Targeting unhealthy food consumption in addition to increasing fruit and vegetable consumption may facilitate this. Restricted access to high-fat and high-sugar foods may also reduce intake; however, this needs to be part of a multi-faceted approach to changing children's dietary patterns involving the whole school community.