Food and drink consumption at school lunchtime: The impact of lunch type and contribution to overall intake in British 9/10-yr old children.
Public Health Nutrition 2011
Objective. To examine the differences in dietary intakes of children consuming school meals and packed lunches, the contribution of lunchtime intake to overall dietary intake, and how lunchtime intake relates to current food-based recommendations for school meals. Design. Cross-sectional analysis of overall intake of macronutrients and food choice from 4 d food diaries and school lunchtime intake from the two diary days completed while at school. Setting. Norfolk, UK. Subjects. One thousand six hundred and twenty-six children (aged 9-10 years) attending ninety Norfolk primary schools. Results. At school, lunchtime school meal eaters consumed more vegetables, sweet snacks, chips, starchy foods and milk, and less squash/cordial, fruit, bread, confectionery and savoury snacks than packed lunch eaters. These differences were also reflected in the overall diet. On average school meal eaters met the School Food Trust (SFT) food-based standards, while food choices among packed lunch eaters were less healthy. The contribution of food consumed at school lunchtime to overall diet varied by food and lunch type, ranging from 0•8 % (milk intake in packed lunches) to 74•4 % (savoury snack intake in packed lunches). Conclusions. There were significant differences in the foods consumed by school meal and packed lunch eaters, with food choices among school meal eaters generally in line with SFT standards. The food choices made at school lunchtime make a significant contribution to overall diet.
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