EATPro is an interdisciplinary project funded by the Scottish Government’s Chief Scientist Office. Scottish children have poor diets, high in sugar and low in fruit and vegetable consumption. This impacts negatively on their oral and general health. Following the Medical Research Council’s framework for complex interventions, the project seeks to develop and evaluate a context-based programme to promote healthier eating practices in primary school children.
The development stage of the project includes a systematic review that has highlighted the key theories used to design interventions with children. Policy document analysis has centred on key areas of change in Scottish Government policy, in particular changes in school meal provision and food and health teaching through Curriculum for Excellence.
Ethnographic work has included interviews with children, parents and teachers, observation of food teaching in classrooms, and a highly innovative use of photo diaries with children as a means to provoke in-depth discussion of their eating practices.
This work has informed the design of an intervention programme currently being trialled in a pilot study. The programme includes encouraging water drinking, break time policies, enhancing food preparation and cooking skills, alongside engaging and innovative teaching techniques. It is being evaluated in schools across deprivation levels and involves partnership with the Food Standards Agency Scotland and Scottish Government-sponsored Cooking Bus.
Each stage of the project informs subsequent stages, moving through the first three phases of the MRC Framework as demonstrated:
Key project collaborators include Professor Ruth Freeman (DHSRU), Professor Annie Anderson (Centre for Public Health Nutrition Research, University of Dundee), and Dr John Cassidy (Director of the Scottish Communities for Health and Wellbeing), as well as schools, teachers, parents and Local Education Authorities.
Chambers, S, Freeman, R, Anderson, AS. (2014) Using photo-ethnography to understand children's eating practices. Food, Children and Youth: What’s Eating International Conference, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, 20-21 February 2014 (oral presentation)
Chambers, S. (2014) Childhood Studies Jamboree Workshop. Centre for Families and Relationships, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, 19th February 2014. (workshop, via invitation)
Chambers, S. (2014) Improving the eating practices of Scottish children. Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Yale University, 13 January, New Haven.
Chambers, S. (2013) Policy into practice: Healthy eating in Scottish schools. Dundee Dental School Seminar Series, 4 December, University of Dundee.
Chambers, S. (2012) Developing a context-based, teacher-led, programme to promote healthier eating practices in Primary 7 children. Population Health Sciences Seminar Series, 17 October, University of Dundee.