Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours


School of Education


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Delia Quinn


Links exist between poor eating habits established during childhood and adolescence and the development of dental decay, obesity and anaemia early in life (Ruxton, Kirk, Belton & Holmes, 1993; Douglas, 1999), as well as a number of diseases of affluence, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers later in life (Baranowski et al., 1993; Birch, 1993; National Health and Medical Research Council, 1995; Antine, 1997; Harris et al., 1997; Douglas, 1998; Melnik, Rhoades, Wales, Cowel & Wolfe, 1998; Cholin, 1999; Huon, Wardle & Szabo, 1999). Adolescence has been identified as a unique stage in the life cycle when increased amounts of nutrients are required due to rapid growth. It has been suggested that the food and beverage items consumed by students while at school should contribute approximately one-third of their daily nutrient intake (Perth Dental Hospital and Community Dental Services, 1999). Since the mid-1980's, greater awareness of school-time eating habits has resulted in a number of initiatives aimed at promoting more healthful canteens in Australian schools. In Western Australia, the Western Australian School Canteen Association (W ASCA) assists schools to adopt and maintain healthy canteens. One of WASCA's strategies is the Star Accreditation Program (STARCAP), which awards schools that operate healthy canteens using a star rating system similar to that used in the hospitality and tourism industry. The Starcap program's aim is to "increase the availability, promotion and sales of healthier food choices in schools in Western Australia" (Western Australian School Canteen Association, 2000, p. 2). The purpose of this study was to compare the nutrient intakes of students' school-time food and beverage consumption of two STARCAP canteens and two REGULAR canteens and the National Health and Medical Research Council's (1991) Recommended Dietary Intakes. Four Perth metropolitan co-educational government high schools were selected to participate in this study; two schools with canteens that were participating in the STARCAP program and two schools with REGULAR canteens. Using a modified version of the 24-hour food recall method, students in two Year 8 classes at each school were asked to recall one day's food and beverage items consumed whilst at school. Analysis of data included evaluating what was offered for sale at each canteen, as well as comparing the proportion of students who consumed the majority of their school-time food intake from the school canteen to those who consumed foods mostly brought from home. The students' mean nutrient intakes of food and beverage items consumed from each canteen were ascertained using a nutrient analysis software package (SERVE), and comparisons were made with the National Health and Medical Council's (1991) Recommended Dietary Intakes.