Shepherd, J., Harden, A., Rees, R., Brunton, G., Garcia, J., Oliver, S. and Oakley, A.
Young people and healthy eating: a systematic review of research on barriers and facilitators
Health Education Research, 21, (2), . (doi:10.1093/her/cyh060).
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A systematic review was conducted to examine the barriers to, and facilitators of, healthy eating among young people (11–16 years). The review focused on the wider determinants of health, examining community- and society-level interventions. Seven outcome evaluations and eight studies of young people's views were included. The effectiveness of the interventions was mixed, with improvements in knowledge and increases in healthy eating but differences according to gender. Barriers to healthy eating included poor school meal provision and ease of access to, relative cheapness of and personal taste preferences for fast food. Facilitators included support from family, wider availability of healthy foods, desire to look after one's appearance and will-power. Friends and teachers were generally not a common source of information. Some of the barriers and facilitators identified by young people had been addressed by soundly evaluated effective interventions, but significant gaps were identified where no evaluated interventions appear to have been published (e.g. better labelling of food products), or where there were no methodologically sound evaluations. Rigorous evaluation is required particularly to assess the effectiveness of increasing the availability of affordable healthy food in the public and private spaces occupied by young people
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