An Exploration of Nutritional Education within the Holiday Activities and Food Programme in England

Emily K. Round*, Jackie Shinwell, Paul B. Stretesky, Margaret Anne Defeyter*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Nutritional education is a recent, mandatory inclusion within the quality standards framework for the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme in England; funded by the Department for Education (DfE). Whilst research has been conducted regarding nutritional education in other contexts, such as schools and community organisations, to the authors’ knowledge, no published research has yet explored nutritional education within HAF. The current study therefore aimed to explore the implementation, delivery, and perceived facilitators, barriers and impacts of nutritional education across a number of Local Authorities delivering HAF in England. Purposive sampling (n = 11) was used to recruit HAF leads involved in nutritional education, to participate in semi-structured interviews. Thematic analysis showed that nutritional education is currently delivered through a variety of modes including face-to-face, online, and take-home methods, all of which require a range of considerations in terms of implementation, delivery, and associated impacts, with some holiday clubs offering no nutritional education. According to participating HAF leads, nutritional education was used as a mechanism to enhance children’s and parents’ cooking confidence and competence, to improve dietary intake, and to increase understanding of issues such as food sustainability, environmental impacts, and food provenance. Although there are many examples of innovative practice, the findings suggested that COVID guidelines proved challenging for providers to include nutritional education within HAF delivery during 2021. Further, whilst the quality standards framework for nutritional education provides flexibility in terms of implementation and delivery, specific guidance, and monitoring of provision is required to ensure quality assurance and consistency across the HAF programme.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2398
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2022

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