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Harnessing digital innovation in High School Canteens to reduce cardiovascular dietary risk factors
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Harnessing digital innovation in High School Canteens to reduce cardiovascular dietary risk factors

Dr Rebecca Wyse, Institution: The University of Newcastle

2019 Vanguard Grant

Years funded: 2020-2022


This research aims to implement a novel intervention using emerging technology to improve the Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) related dietary risk factors of Australian adolescents: a traditionally hard-to-reach group, at a critical point in the development of CVD dietary risks. The intervention strategies will be delivered via online canteen ordering systems, where student go online to view their school's canteen menu, and to select and pay for their lunch order. These systems have been rapidly adopted throughout Australian schools.

For example, the largest provider of online canteens (a partner in this research) services >1,000 schools Australia-wide, is accessed by >250,000 users, and processes >13 million lunch orders per year. The proposed study would be the first trial internationally, of a behavioural intervention targeting adolescents that is delivered via an online school canteen ordering system.

The study will assess the potential efficacy and feasibility of the intervention, which aims to increase the selection of healthier lunch order foods through use of the following strategies: Menu Labelling: A coloured symbol, based on the NSW Government labelling system, will be positioned adjacent to each menu item Placement.

Menu items will be ordered to give healthy items positions of greatest prominence Tailored feedback: students will receive graphical feedback in real-time summarising the healthiness of their order. The intervention will be evaluated using a cluster randomised control trial, assessing three primary outcomes, of directly relevance to cardiovascular health. Energy (kilojoules)  Saturated fat (grams)  Sodium (milligrams)  This trial will provide rigorous evidence regarding the potential efficacy and feasibility of the intervention for this hard-to-reach group.

Findings will be used to apply for national funding to conduct a larger definitive trial that will pave the way for rapid translation of reduced CVD risk to thousands of Australian adolescents using online canteen ordering systems.

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