A Qualitative Evaluation of Exposure to and Perceptions of the Woolworths Healthy Tuck Shop Guide in Cape Town, South Africa
South African Medical Research Council, University of Cape Town, Sports Sci Inst South Africa
Background: Both under-and over-nutrition pose a public health concern, especially for children in South Africa. Several initiatives exist in South Africa directed at promoting healthy eating and nutrition at schools. One of them is the Woolworths Making the Difference (MTD) Programme aimed at eliminating barriers to promoting healthy lifestyles that exist at schools, such as the availability of low-cost, unhealthy foods either from tuck shops (small food shops) or street vendors. The Healthy Tuck Shop Guide is a recent addition to the MTD Programme. The aim of this evaluation was to assess awareness, potential uptake, and perceptions of the Woolworths Healthy Tuck Shop Guide among parents and staff in a sample of schools that were exposed to the guide.
Methods: A qualitative study consisting of focus groups, interviews, and tuck shop observation was used to gather information on 13 schools and their exposure, comprehension, and use of the guide. A mix of schools was examined in terms of economic status and level of control over their tuck shop. Thematic analysis was used to extract findings.
Results: Findings show that despite overall positive attitudes about the guide several barriers to its implementation exist, including children's preferences for unhealthy foods, the higher cost of healthy foods, and other issues related to a lack of facilities, time and manpower.
Conclusion: Findings suggest that the Woolworths Healthy Tuck Shop Guide would contribute more meaningfully to the creation of healthier food environments if executed within a larger support network to address barriers to implementation.