oa South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition - The school food environment : shaping the future health of the nation : guest editorial

Volume 28, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1607-0658
  • E-ISSN: 2221-1268



A healthy school environment, including healthy food environments within schools, has been a focus area in the global health arena for a number of decades. During the 1990s, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a series of technical documents that focused on the various aspects thereof. The aim of the WHO's Global School Health Initiative was to help schools to improve the health of students, staff, parents and community members. However, the rising tide of noncommunicable diseases (NCD) shifted the focus from general health promotion to an interest in schools as settings for NCD prevention, especially with regard to nutrition and physical activity behaviour. The dramatic increase in the prevalence of obesity in children around the world resulted in even greater interest being paid to school-based obesity prevention programmes. A 2011 series on obesity identified the key action that international agencies, the private sector, civil society, health professionals and individuals need to perform to combat the obesity epidemic. Creating a healthy school food, and physical activity, environment, was included as a priority action for individuals.

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