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To investigate club managers’ and parents’ experiences with food selection at handball halls in order to identify facilitators and barriers to the availability of healthy food.
Individual interviews with club managers (n 6) and focus groups (n 5) with parents (n 21) were conducted. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim, transcripts were coded in NVivo and the analysis was guided by thematic analysis.
Interviews were conducted at five handball clubs with varying socio-economic user populations and sizes in the area of Oslo, Norway.
The club managers were responsible for food selection at the handball clubs. The participating parents had one or two active children between the ages of 6 and 12 years who took part in the clubs.
The club managers and parents generally described food selection at the handball halls as unhealthy and wanted a healthier selection of food. The club managers’ primary barriers to providing a healthier food selection included the potential to lose profits, limited facilities and time to prepare these foods. The parents often valued unhealthy food, as they believed that it supported the social environment and served as a reward for the children. Trainers were perceived as important role models for the promotion of healthy eating. The participants thought that national guidelines could facilitate healthy food environments in sports arenas.
Healthier food options in sports settings could be facilitated through national guidelines that describe healthy foods and establish who is responsible for providing healthy food selections.
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