La Trobe
2017-The impact of coaches providing healthy snacks at junior sport training.pdf (97.31 kB)

The impact of coaches providing healthy snacks at junior sport training

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Objective: Sports clubs provide an opportunity to tackle childhood obesity rates through targeted interventions. Our study aimed to investigate if coaches providing healthy snacks to participants before junior netball sessions at five clubs in Melbourne, Australia, increased consumption of healthy foods and influenced coach perceptions of participants’ attention/participation levels. Methods: Coaches provided healthy snacks to participants before each netball session for one school term. Children's food consumption was observed at one session before, during and after the intervention. Parents attending the observed session completed pre- and post-intervention questionnaires. Coaches rated participants’ attention/participation at the observed sessions before and during the intervention, and completed a questionnaire post-intervention. Results: Baseline: Ice cream and cake were the most frequently consumed snacks. During intervention: Fruit, cheese and crackers and vegetables were the most frequently consumed snacks. Coaches ratings of participants’ attention/participation increased significantly (baseline: 6.4 ± 0.17, intervention: 7.5 ± 0.36; p=0.02) where the same coach undertook ratings at both time points. Conclusions: Coaches providing healthy snacks before sessions at sports clubs increased consumption of nutrient-dense foods at the session, and may have positively affected participants’ attention/participation. Implications for public health: This study highlights how a simple intervention could improve the diet of Australian children.


The evaluation of the State Sport Program-Healthy Choices initiative was initiated and funded by VicHealth. VicHealth had no involvement in study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or the decision to submit the article for publication.


Publication Date



Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health






6p. (p. 561-566)





Rights Statement

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

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