Understanding school food in Newfoundland and Labrador through a systems framework

Doyle, Emily (2021) Understanding school food in Newfoundland and Labrador through a systems framework. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Using systems thinking, I address the question of how to improve school food in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL). Chapter Two provides an interdisciplinary review of school food literature. This review establishes the rationale for adopting systems thinking as a conceptual and analytic tool. The systems methodology used in this dissertation is described in Chapter Three. In Chapter Four I review what is known about school food in the NL context and describe the gap to be filled by using multi-method research to answer the following questions: What school food programs and policies exist in NL? What knowledge and attitudes exist about the current school food system? How do knowledge and programs interact to facilitate or inhibit development of a more healthy and sustainable school food system? Next, three research-based chapters contribute to new understanding. Chapter Five is a case study about a school greenhouse. The case study took place earlier in my PhD program and helped lead to the adoption of the systems methodology applied throughout this dissertation. Chapter Six is based on a survey of 68 principals. The results of the survey highlight the persistence of variability as a key defining feature of school food in the province and the need for more responsive and collaborative tools to assess and enhance school food systems across the province. Chapter Seven discusses findings from 34 key informant interviews of stakeholders throughout the system of school food in NL. An analysis of these interviews shows how school food system innovators drive systems change by responding to system weaknesses as a source for strategic collaboration and learning. Taken together, the findings provide a deeper understanding of how persistent and substantial barriers make interventions ineffective. Future areas for learning and collaboration are identified. I suggest that collaborative and critical knowledge about the NL school food system is essential for future transformation.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/15258
Item ID: 15258
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 188-211).
Keywords: school food system, systems thinking, comprehensive school health, CSH, Newfoundland and Labrador
Department(s): Medicine, Faculty of > Community Health
Date: October 2021
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.48336/S2YG-QW52
Medical Subject Heading: Schools; Food Services; Newfoundland and Labrador; Systems Analysis

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