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Food and nutrient intakes of primary school children: a comparison of school meals and packed lunches.
J Hum Nutr Diet. 2008 Oct; 21(5):420-7.JH

Abstract

BACKGROUND

New school meal standards are currently being phased in by the government in an attempt to improve the nutritional composition of school food. However, no standards are applied to packed lunches. The present study aimed to compare the food and nutrient intakes of primary school children eating a school meal with those taking a packed lunch.

METHODS

A sample of 120 children, aged 6-11 years, was observed once at a lunch time and all items consumed were recorded. Nutrient analysis was performed, and differences in nutrient intake between those children consuming packed lunches and school meals were determined.

RESULTS

Mean energy and protein intakes were similar. The amount of energy provided by starchy carbohydrate was also similar but, compared with school meals, packed lunches provided twice as much energy from sugar (P < 0.001). School meals on average provided more energy from fat (P < 0.001), but intakes of saturated fat were lower in the school meals group (P = 0.021). Packed lunches provided more sodium (P < 0.001), calcium (P < 0.001) and iron (P = 0.016) than the school meals. Very few packed lunches contained vegetables, and fruit intake was particularly low for those having a school meal.

CONCLUSIONS

Children taking a packed lunch to school were consuming approximately double the amount of sugar and 50% more sodium and saturated fat in their midday meal compared with those having a school lunch. However packed lunches were providing children with more calcium, iron and fruit.

Authors+Show Affiliations

School of Biological Sciences, The University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth, UK. gail.rees@plymouth.ac.ukNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Comparative Study
Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

18631283

Citation

Rees, G A., et al. "Food and Nutrient Intakes of Primary School Children: a Comparison of School Meals and Packed Lunches." Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics : the Official Journal of the British Dietetic Association, vol. 21, no. 5, 2008, pp. 420-7.
Rees GA, Richards CJ, Gregory J. Food and nutrient intakes of primary school children: a comparison of school meals and packed lunches. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2008;21(5):420-7.
Rees, G. A., Richards, C. J., & Gregory, J. (2008). Food and nutrient intakes of primary school children: a comparison of school meals and packed lunches. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics : the Official Journal of the British Dietetic Association, 21(5), 420-7. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-277X.2008.00885.x
Rees GA, Richards CJ, Gregory J. Food and Nutrient Intakes of Primary School Children: a Comparison of School Meals and Packed Lunches. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2008;21(5):420-7. PubMed PMID: 18631283.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Food and nutrient intakes of primary school children: a comparison of school meals and packed lunches. AU - Rees,G A, AU - Richards,C J, AU - Gregory,J, Y1 - 2008/07/09/ PY - 2008/7/18/pubmed PY - 2009/1/27/medline PY - 2008/7/18/entrez SP - 420 EP - 7 JF - Journal of human nutrition and dietetics : the official journal of the British Dietetic Association JO - J Hum Nutr Diet VL - 21 IS - 5 N2 - BACKGROUND: New school meal standards are currently being phased in by the government in an attempt to improve the nutritional composition of school food. However, no standards are applied to packed lunches. The present study aimed to compare the food and nutrient intakes of primary school children eating a school meal with those taking a packed lunch. METHODS: A sample of 120 children, aged 6-11 years, was observed once at a lunch time and all items consumed were recorded. Nutrient analysis was performed, and differences in nutrient intake between those children consuming packed lunches and school meals were determined. RESULTS: Mean energy and protein intakes were similar. The amount of energy provided by starchy carbohydrate was also similar but, compared with school meals, packed lunches provided twice as much energy from sugar (P < 0.001). School meals on average provided more energy from fat (P < 0.001), but intakes of saturated fat were lower in the school meals group (P = 0.021). Packed lunches provided more sodium (P < 0.001), calcium (P < 0.001) and iron (P = 0.016) than the school meals. Very few packed lunches contained vegetables, and fruit intake was particularly low for those having a school meal. CONCLUSIONS: Children taking a packed lunch to school were consuming approximately double the amount of sugar and 50% more sodium and saturated fat in their midday meal compared with those having a school lunch. However packed lunches were providing children with more calcium, iron and fruit. SN - 1365-277X UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/18631283/Food_and_nutrient_intakes_of_primary_school_children:_a_comparison_of_school_meals_and_packed_lunches_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-277X.2008.00885.x DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -