School meal contribution to nutrient intake amongst 11-14 year old Scottish schoolchildren
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Norris, C., Clapham, M., Davidson, I. & Wyness, L. (2016) School meal contribution to nutrient intake amongst 11-14 year old Scottish schoolchildren, EC Nutrition, vol. 4, , ,
Objective: To assess nutrient intake of children who buy lunch in school, outside school, or bring a packed lunch to school, and compare this with the nutrient standards. Methods: Secondary school pupils aged 11-14 years (n 332) from two secondary schools in Fife, Scotland, were asked to complete food diaries for a period of five days (Monday to Friday) to record foods and drinks consumed and portion sizes. Nutritional analysis of the diaries was carried out in respect to ten key nutrients/foods for which standards had been defined in the Scottish Nutrient School Standards for Lunches (SNSSL). Descriptive statistics were complied for each lunch type and analysis was conducted to investigate the importance of the lunchtime meal. Results: Around a third of pupils (32.8%) habitually had canteen lunches. The mean energy intake of canteen lunches was 504kcal (2109kJ), compared with 556kcal (2326kJ) for packed lunches and 707kcal (2958kJ) for lunches bought outside of school ('street lunches'). Canteen lunches provided the 'most nutritious lunch', with street lunches providing the 'least nutritious lunch'. Conclusions: The findings from this study emphasise the importance in canteen lunches in terms of nutritional quality as well as quantity, especially in terms of fat and SFA. Even if the overall menu, considered over a week, may meet SNSSL, this study indicates that (owing to food choices made by children in the canteen) the actual lunchtime nutrient intakes of children consuming canteen lunches were often far from achieving the nutritional standards.