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- a unique web-based instrument for the evaluation and improvement of school meal quality Emma Patterson BSc Human nutrition, PhD Project manager Essen,

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Presentation on theme: "- a unique web-based instrument for the evaluation and improvement of school meal quality Emma Patterson BSc Human nutrition, PhD Project manager Essen,"— Presentation transcript:

1 - a unique web-based instrument for the evaluation and improvement of school meal quality Emma Patterson BSc Human nutrition, PhD Project manager Essen, Germany 5th September 2012

2 Why is the school lunch so important? ◊A child will eat almost 2000 lunches at school in Sweden ◊For 5 days a week, it should provide 30% of all daily nutritional requirements ◊Potential effects on attention, learning ◊A pedagogic tool – a practical way to teach about diet, health etc. ◊May counteract social inequalities in health

3 School meals: a long history in Sweden ◊Practice began in the late 1800s, aimed at children from poor families ◊For decades, Sweden and Finland have been unique in serving free cooked meals in primary school ◊“A free school lunch for every child” was enshrined in law in 1997

4 A new, updated, school law ◊From 1st July 2011 a new version of this law applies ◊“A free nutritious school lunch for every child” ◊No monitoring system in place

5 What does “nutritious” mean? ◊Means according to Swedish nutrition recommendations – similar to WHO recommendations – i.e. complying with upper and/or lower limits for energy, nutrients ◊Can also follow food-based guidelines – Fatty fish, low-fat milk, low-fat margarine

6 What does the law mean in practice? ◊For schoolchildren – A right to a nutritious school lunch ◊For schools – A reason to consider the school lunch as an integral part of the school day – Will have to document for the Schools Inspection Agency that they comply with the new law

7 What is School Food Sweden? ◊Free, web-based system ◊Helps the person responsible for school food at the school to thoroughly evaluate provision ◊Provides tailored feedback to each school ◊Aimed at all Swedish primary schools (ca 4000) and local authorities (290) ◊Collaboration; developed by researchers (no commercial interests)

8 A holistic approach to the school meal ◊The school meal is about more than just nutritional content ◊The aim is to gather information not just on the nutritional content of school meals but also on other relevant aspects ◊The school meal quality is therefore evaluated in the following areas:

9 Level 3 Organisation Level 2 Service & pedagogy Environmental impact Level 1 Food choice and provision Nutritional adequacy Safe food Staff questionnaire Student questionnaire School meal quality – holistic approach

10 School report How does it work? 1 2 3

11 Food choice and provision Number of dishes daily Bread, sallad buffet etc. Breakfast, snacks, kafeteria y Nutritional adequacy Types of meals Types of foods Serving frequency Amounts Safe food Education Routines (hygiene, special diets) Level 1 Level 1 Food choice and provision Nutritional adequacy Safe food

12 Nutritional adequacy ◊Vitamin D ◊Iron ◊We developed and validated nutrient-specific food-based criteria for each ◊Criteria predict if school is likely to fulfill/unlikely to fulfill Swedish Nutritional Recommendations ◊Fat quality ◊Fibre

13 Level 2 Service & pedagogy Environmental impact Service & pedagogy Scheduling Service & meal environment ”Pedagogic lunch” Student involvement Environmental impact Food/packaging waste Food choices (meat, fish etc) Organic food Level 1 Food choice and provision Nutritional adequacy Safe food Level 2

14 Organisation Goals & guidelines Responsibility Competencies & resources Uptake & consumption Level 3 Organisation & policy Level 2 Service & pedagogy Environmental impact Level 1 Food choice and provision Nutritional adequacy Safe food Level 3

15 Guest perspective

16 Spring/autumn 2011 Development process Spring 2010 Autumn 2010 Spring 2012

17 What do we now know? ◊We now have a picture of school food at national level for the first time ◊Baseline data from 191 schools gathered spring 2011

18 What now? ◊Research: data facilitates study of the associations between school meal quality, students’ uptake, diet, health and academic achievement ◊Monitoring: Future reports will allow us to highlight progress of school food quality nationally ◊Expansion: Demand exists for similar systems for hospitals, preschools, elderly care facilities etc.

19 More information:


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