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Promotion of physical activity and healthy food choices was hampered by competitiveness, lack of quality food, easy access to non-nutritious food, and time constraints

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Q What are the factors in school social and physical environments that support or interfere with the promotion of healthy nutrition and physical activity?


Qualitative study.


Grade 7 and 8 classes (children 12–14 y) in 2 public schools (500–800 students) in northeastern USA.


26 students and 23 faculty and staff members.


Students were divided by grade and sex into 7 focus groups, and faculty and staff members were divided into 3 focus groups. 10 individual interviews were conducted with key informants including administrators, cafeteria managers, physical education directors, school nurses, guidance counsellors, and health educators. Focus groups and individual interviews lasted 45–60 minutes. Topics included the physical and social environments in the schools …

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  • For correspondence: Dr S B Austin, Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, Children’s Hospital Boston, Boston, MA, USA.

  • Sources of funding: Boston Obesity Nutrition Research Center; Massachusetts Health Research Institute; McCarthy Family Foundation; Maternal and Child Health Bureau, US Department of Health and Human Services.