Using Behavioural Science to Help Parents Pack Healthier Lunchboxes
PHE ePoster Library. Bunten A. 09/12/17; 186448; 202
Dr. Amanda Bunten
Dr. Amanda Bunten
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Abstract IntroductionThe prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity continues to rise in England, from 9.3% in Reception (4-5years) to 19.8% by Year 6 (10-11years). Only 1% of packed lunches in primary schools meet the standards for school meals in England; with 82% containing unhealthy snacks and 61% sugar sweetened drinks. Currently, parents struggle to identify healthy choices for packed lunches.MethodA cluster randomised controlled trial was implemented in 17 primary schools in Derby City. The intervention comprised three bundles of behavioural-insight-informed materials delivered to parents of children years 3-6 via the children's book bags. Materials were designed using behavioural science to raise awareness of hidden sugars in common lunchbox items, identify easy acceptable alternatives and provide tools to help parents continue packing healthier lunchboxes. Photographs of packed lunch contents were taken at three time points; pre-intervention, post-intervention and 3 month follow-up. The visible items in each photograph were coded using a bespoke database built using nutritional data from the Brandbank database.Results17 schools took part in the study (8 intervention, 9 control). 1,719 photographs were taken of packed lunches at baseline and 1,745 post intervention. The primary outcomes are the proportion of packed lunches, post-intervention, that contain i) a sugary snack or ii) a chilled sugary dessert.ConclusionFinal data collection is due in July with preliminary results expected August 2017. If this low cost, low intensity intervention is shown to be effective in helping parents pack healthier lunchboxes there is the potential to roll this out nationally.
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