Evaluation of Governmental School Canteens in Nablus District / West Bank-2015

Discussion Committee: 
Dr. Zaher Nazzal / Supervisor
Dr. Mariam Al- Tall /internal examiner
Dr. Nuha Al-Sharif /external examiner
Dr. Zaher Nazzal / Supervisor
Ala’a Almasri
Introduction: School-aged children are the suitable period to modify unhealthy behaviors and strengthen healthy eating and lifestyle behaviors. Therefore, the Ministry of Education cooperates with the Ministry of Health to adapt the school nutrition policy. As Palestinian children in the age group 0-17 years constitute 49% of the population, and there were almost 1.450.000 students in Palestinian schools in 2011, it’s important to implement the policy and monitor and evaluate it. The main objective on this study was to evaluate the implementation process of the “nutrition school policy” at public schools in the north West Bank. Methodology: A mix of triangulation method of both quantitative and qualitative study design was used to achieve the study objectives. The study was conducted in 16 governmental schools in Nablus governorate. For the quantitative data, a cross-sectional design was used to evaluate food items served in school canteens and assess the canteen environment compared with the Ministry of Education guidelines (MoE). For the qualitative data, a structured interview was used to explore canteen workers' experience in implementing the policy and assess canteen workers' practices in preparing and serving food items. Results: The results showed that almost all schools got excellent scores regarding the served food items in their canteens when compared to MoE guidelines. Almost all participating schools got a good score regarding the school canteen environment, and excellent scores regarding canteen workers' practices in preparing and serving food items. Almost half of participants who were interviewed showed satisfaction regarding the quality of the building dedicated for the canteen, and equipment quality garnered higher satisfaction. Regarding canteen workers' ability to understand the school nutrition policy, the trained workers can understand and apply the policy perfectly; others, which are the majority, do not understand or even know about it. The vast majority of canteen workers agreed that the nutrition policy is for the benefit of everyone, especially the students. Conclusion: School nutrition policy is an important part in improving students’ health perspectives, though training for canteen workers is needed as well as routine monitoring and evaluation.
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