Family eating out-of-home: A review of nutrition and health policies

L. E. McGuffin, J. M.W. Wallace, T. A. McCrorie, R. K. Price, L. K. Pourshahidi, M. B.E. Livingstone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


Childhood obesity is a growing problem worldwide. In recent years, out-of-home (OH) eating has been highlighted as one of the many factors contributing to the obesogenic environment. This review seeks to identify a range of existing guidelines for the provision of healthy food options for families who eat OH frequently. Nationally available nutrition policies were identified using targeted and untargeted searches of the internet to identify established strategies for providing food for children in the family eating out sector in America (US), Australia, Canada and the WHO's European Region (EUR). These were categorised on the basis of eleven pre-defined criteria including: family eating out sector included as stakeholder; inclusion of children's food OH; cost strategies for healthier food choices; provision of nutrition information for customers; nutrition training of catering staff; and monitoring and evaluation structures. Fifty-five policies were reviewed, of which 71% addressed children's food served OH, but principally only for food available in schools. Two voluntary programmes, from Colorado and Slovenia, were identified as possible best practice models as they met a majority of the evaluation criteria. The most frequently used strategy by policies to promote healthier eating OH was the provision of nutrition information on menus, while monitoring and evaluation plans were poorly incorporated into any OH strategies, thus raising issues about their effectiveness. This review has identified a range of initiatives that could be employed to make healthier eating OH more accessible for families. However, to establish best practice guidelines for healthier OH food choices further investigations are required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-139
Number of pages14
JournalProceedings of the Nutrition Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2013



  • Catering sector
  • Children
  • Eating out-of-home
  • Family
  • Nutrition information
  • Obesity
  • Policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

Cite this

McGuffin, L. E., Wallace, J. M. W., McCrorie, T. A., Price, R. K., Pourshahidi, L. K., & Livingstone, M. B. E. (2013). Family eating out-of-home: A review of nutrition and health policies. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 72(1), 126-139.