Healthy casetas: A potential strategy to improve the food environment in low-income schools to reduce obesity in children in Guatemala City

Elisa L. Pehlke, Paola Letona, Manuel Ramirez-Zea, Joel Gittelsohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Developing countries have undergone transitions driven by globalization and development, accelerating increases in prevalence of overweight and obesity among children. Schools have been identified as effective settings for interventions that target children’s dietary behaviors. In Guatemala, public schools commonly have food kiosks (Casetas) that sell products to children. From July through October 2013, observations during recess, in-depth interviews with school principals (n = 4) and caseta vendors (n = 4), and focus groups with children (n = 48) were conducted. This article explores products available to children at casetas. Factors that affect what casetas offer include regulations and enforcement, vendor investment and earnings, vendor resources, product demand, pricing, and children’s preferences. These factors influence the products that are available and children’s tendency to purchase them. Potential strategies for improvement include healthy food preparation, price manipulation and promotions, raffles and games to encourage healthier choices, and policy to push toward development of healthier products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)324-338
Number of pages15
JournalEcology of Food and Nutrition
Volume55
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Guatemala
  • childhood obesity
  • childhood overweight
  • qualitative research
  • school food environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science
  • Ecology

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