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To establish the school eating habits of Mexican children, who are prone to obesity and later to high rates of adult chronic diseases.
Questionnaires for students and parents with staff questionnaires and interviews.
Randomly sampled schools in a socio-economically representative district of Mexico City.
Subjects were 1504 adolescents aged 10–19 years attending schools in Mexico City, 27 teachers and seven headmasters, sampled from both public and private schools and from the full range of socio-economic groups.
Foods brought from home were of a higher nutritional quality than those purchased at school, where purchases were dominated by crisps, soft drinks and other items with high energy density. Girls were more inclined to purchase inappropriately; those from poorer homes purchased less. Private-school students irrespective of socio-economic grade brought more food from home and purchased more expensive food at school. School policies allowed food and drink vendors to market any products within the schools, which benefited financially from these activities.
Current school food policies are conducive to amplifying the current epidemic of obesity and related adult chronic diseases, and need to change.
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