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School Meals and a Modified School Diet

Extraneous Variables

Together with dependent and independent variables which include the stakeholders’ responses and attitudes to the change in school meals and the altered school diet correspondently, the researchers usually face extraneous variables. They are not the interest of the research but can influence its results. Thus, for the investigation of main stakeholders’ attitude to the change of school diets, extraneous variables can be as follows: people’s lifestyles (citizens with healthy eating habits are more likely to support such changes); the age of people involved (youth probably gives less attention to the choice of food and children would rather choose tasty than healthy meals); and the family income (it also influences eating habits).

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Current research is an exploratory-descriptive study aimed to reveal the attitudes of people (students, their parents, and teachers) to the reduction of sugar and fats in the school menu. The major instrument of the research is an in-depth interview. The interview is suitable for the researches which needs personal opinions. It is easy to apply, does not demand much special preparation, and is flexible. Flexibility is one of the advantages of the interview because there is an opportunity to adjust questions in case of necessity or ask for an explanation of some ideas.

The interview questions were developed based on literature review and cover all aspects of people’s attitudes to changes. The need for change is not a matter of discussion since obesity is a big problem in schools. A report of the University of North Texas Health Center (2013) underlines the exceptional role of school in addressing the issue of childhood obesity. The validity and reliability of the research tool depend on the study conditions. The interviews will be anonymous and the information on the respondents will not be used anywhere except the data analysis. Thus, the participants are expected to be honest in their responses which will contribute to the validity and reliability of the research.

Description of the Intervention

There are many programs for childhood obesity prevention with different efficiency (Wang et al., 2013). Together with the increase of activity in schools and the promotion of healthy lifestyles, the change in school diet aimed at the reduction of sugar and fats in students’ meals is suggested as one of the possibilities to prevent obesity among school children. The current intervention will assess 20-30 middle school students and their parents. Students will get flyers that inform on the research peculiarities and can take them to patents. If they decide to join the investigation, they will contact the researchers and decide on the time and place of the interview. In case a personal meeting is impossible, the participants can be interviewed on the phone or through Skype.

Data Collection Procedures

Data collection will be provided within schools that support the suggested initiative on the change of school diet and are eager to cooperate. The participants will be selected among volunteers according to the principle of quota sampling. The voluntary approach will provide the eagerness of participants to cooperate. Participants will be provided with detailed instructions concerning the purpose of the interview. Parents and teachers will have to sign informed consent on the use of their data in the research. During the data collection process, interviews will be recorded on digital resources. They will be transcribed and analyzed during the data analysis stage.


University of North Texas Health Center. (2013). Make a difference at your school. Web.

Wang,Y., Wu, Y., Wilson, R.F., Bleich, S., Cheskin, L., Weston, C. … Segal, J. (2013). Childhood obesity prevention programs: Comparative effectiveness review and meta-analysis. Comparative Effectiveness Reviews, 115. Web.

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