From Paper to Practice: Barriers to Adopting Nutrition Guidelines in Schools

Department of Agricultural, Food & Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Journal of nutrition education and behavior (Impact Factor: 1.36). 11/2011; 44(2):114-22. DOI: 10.1016/j.jneb.2011.04.005
Source: PubMed


To explore the barriers associated with the adoption of the Alberta Nutrition Guidelines for Children and Youth in schools according to characteristics of the innovation (guidelines) and the organization (schools).
Cross-sectional telephone survey.
Schools in Alberta, Canada. Principals from 357 schools.
Barriers to adopting the nutrition guidelines.
A 19-question telephone survey, including open- and closed-ended questions, was used to obtain information regarding schools' characteristics and barriers to adopting the guidelines. Qualitative data were coded according to common themes a priori, based on constructs from the Diffusion of Innovations framework.
Schools reported many barriers related to the relative advantage, compatibility, and complexity of adopting the guidelines. Parents' resistance to change and cost were the key reported barriers. Lack of knowledge, student preferences, the physical location of the school, and barriers related to the provision of healthful food were also reported.
Disseminating guidelines without providing adequate support for their implementation may not promote change within the school setting. School nutrition initiatives need to involve the parents and have access to sufficient financial and human resource support.

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    • "Managers’ commitment to the nutrition guidelines did not extend to using scarce resources to facilitate implementation. Despite the importance of supporting guideline implementation with additional financial and human resources [15,32,58,61,70], we were unable to secure these. The lack of nutritional knowledge and reliance on personal knowledge documented in previous studies [58,71] were also identified in the present study; furthermore, the limited training provided, while valued, was insufficient to enable cooks to modify menus and recipes without the continued support of the study dietitian. "
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