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Provincial School Nutrition Policies and Food Security

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1 Provincial School Nutrition Policies and Food Security
By Mary McKenna University of New Brunswick January 2013

2 Overview Evidence on school nutrition programs School nutrition policy
Policy comparisons Access to food Pricing Local foods Food marketing Organizations that fund school nutrition programs

3 Evidence School nutrition programs have been found wanting*:
As an instrument of social policy and for reducing inequities In trying to feed hungry children in a non-stigmatizing manner As an area of potential investment by the Canadian federal government, which regards such services as provincial/territorial jurisdiction exclusively In terms of providing unequivocal strong evidence that they have an important positive effect on children’s learning *Canadian context – no discussion of role of such programs in other countries

4 Evidence Improve likelihood of eating breakfast
Assist with meeting nutrition requirements Improve dietary status Increase vegetable and fruit consumption Improve health improve weight status and serum cholesterol Improve school performance Improve attendance and on-time arrival at school There exists no “safe” level of inadequate nutrition for healthy, growing children. Even nutritional deficiencies of a relatively short duration – a missed breakfast, an inadequate lunch – impair children’s ability to function and learn. Brown, Beardslee, Prowthrow-Stith, 2008

5 School Nutrition Policy
Framework to guide school planning, implementation, and evaluation pertaining to student nutrition and health Promote norms Reflect national dietary guidance Consider cultural and dietary practices

6 Type of School Nutrition Policy
Province Policy AL Recommended guidelines QC Provincial guidelines for recommended board action MN Provincial guidance on required district policies SK NS Provincially required policy and recommended guidelines NL Provincially required policy NB ON BC PE In transition (from required district policies)

7 Components of Provincial SNP’s
Nutrition standards and food facilities/outlets Meal scheduling/eating environments Food intake of staff Nutrition education/information Nutrition training of staff/volunteers Family/community involvement Food safety Food rewards/punishment Special events/celebrations Fundraising Monitoring Nutrition committee

8 Access to Food Manitoba Saskatchewan Nova Scotia New Brunswick
(Ontario) Prince Edward Island

9 Access to Food: MN School policies can address breakfast or snack programs to ensure no child goes hungry (p. 34). Breakfast programs should be open to all students, but should not encourage students to replace breakfasts normally eaten at home (Annapolis Valley Regional School Board).

10 Access to Food: SK School meal programs and/or emergency food are available to ensure that all students have access to nutritious food in school. A community of caregivers, school staff, students and/or local business partners advocate and implement strategies for addressing food security. Examples include community kitchens, the “Good Food Box” and community gardens. Local foods are purchased as often as possible.

11 Access to Food: NS Students who may be Vulnerable
All students need nourishment during the school day. Some students may be challenged in meeting this need for a variety of reasons including poverty, life-threatening food allergies, and other medical conditions requiring special dietary considerations (DIR, p. 3). Schools will ensure that students and parents are aware of breakfast, lunch, and snack programs that are offered in or through the school at minimal or no cost and are accessible to all students Schools must ensure that any food programs are made available to students in a non-stigmatizing manner (p. 6)

12 Access to Food: NB Food Services Guidelines/Recommendations
Breakfast and hot lunch programs will be consistent with the <Healthier Foods and Nutrition in Public Schools> policy (p. 3). Guidelines/Recommendations Schools and school community partners should encourage parent/s guardians to provide a healthy breakfast and healthy foods at home (p. 4).

13 Access to Food: ON NOTE: The standards do NOT apply to food and beverages that are offered in schools to students at no cost Requirement: school boards must ensure that students have access to drinking water during the school day (p. 4)

14 Access to Food: PE The Board and administrators will improve student access to food by: Improving access by all students to healthy, safe, reasonably priced, attractively presented food choices: and Reducing hunger among children living with food insecurity, through enhanced access to healthy foods within the school setting, provided in a non-stigmatizing manner. Western School District School Nutrition Policy

15 Access to Food: PE All schools will continue to participate in and promote the PEI School Milk Program All schools are encouraged to stock an emergency food cupboard with healthy choices for students in need Schools are encouraged to provide breakfast or snack programs when a need is identified, which will: be open to all students but will not be promoted as a replacement for breakfast eaten at home; and will follow Best Practice Standards from Breakfast for Learning. Eastern and Western School District School Nutrition Policies

16 Pricing AL: healthier food choices are competitively priced relative to less nutritious foods Affordable healthy meal choices should be a priority over affordable healthy snacks SK: Healthy foods are reasonable priced and readily available in the school (e.g., cafeteria, canteen) MN: School policies can influence the appropriate pricing, promotion and advertising of nutritious food (p. 33) (e.g., Support healthy food choices by providing affordable, nutritious food (Annapolis Valley Regional School Board).

17 Pricing NS: The cost of food and beverages influences whether or not they are chosen. School food and beverages should be served and sold primarily for the purposes of providing nutrition rather than for revenue generation (DIR, p. 2). NB: Foods with maximum and moderate nutritional value sold in school will be priced as close to cost as practicable (p. 2). BC: Price is the most important factor in helping students make healthier choices. A decreased profit margin on healthier products can be compensated by raising the prices of less healthy products during the transition to full implementation of the Guidelines (p. 24)

18 Pricing PE: Schools will support healthy food choices by pricing approaches which encourage students to choose healthy foods over less healthy foods when food is sold at school.

19 Local Foods AL: Identify vendors, farmers and businesses that can provide Alberta-grown produce or other healthful products at affordable prices (P.53) NS: Whenever possible, schools and food service providers should use food and beverages that are grown, produced, or manufactured in Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada (GUI, p. 10) NL: many foods such as local vegetables and wholesome homemade meals do not have a Nutrition Facts table. These items can be very healthy choices (p. 28) ON: Offer, when available and where possible, food and beverages that are produced in Ontario (consideration, p. 4)

20 Food Marketing AL: Market healthier food choices with positive sign associations such as a message displayed where milk is sold, ‘milk builds strong bones and teeth!’ (p. 54) AL: Teachers and student councils can work together on marketing campaigns that promote healthy food choices (p. 56) NS: Promotion and Advertising: Partnerships between schools and business work best when designed to meet identified health and educational needs rather than serve commercial motives (DIR p. 2).

21 Food Marketing NB: School administrators, all staff and school community partners should promote the consumption of foods with maximum nutritional value on school premises (p. 4). BC: Implementation: Develop and implement marketing mechanisms to further encourage healthy choices (e.g., making healthier choices more plentiful, more visible and less expensive, compared to their less healthy counterparts). P. 6)

22 Food Marketing PE: Schools will work to develop an environment that promotes healthy eating by: Promoting and/or advertising only healthy food choices Not accepting advertising of food products for unhealthy food choices Displaying attractive current promotional materials related to healthy eating throughout schools Eastern School District School Nutrition Policy (p. 95)

23 Other Policies . . . NL: Eating Healthier in Newfoundland and Labrador
Target: increase the percentage of schools which provide support to disadvantaged children through subsidized feeding programs (p. 50). NB: Throne Speech, 2012: Your government has committed to promoting local community food products to residents, visitors and businesses as part of its strategy to grow the Value-Added Food sector. Your government will build on this effort with initiatives to promote the benefits of healthy food choices.

24 Opportunities Work with P/T partners and others to compile and identify better practice comprehensive nutrition policies that address all facets of school nutrition, including access to food, pricing, local foods and food marketing. Ensure that pertinent policy information is consistent and easily accessible to user groups. Provide guidelines and support for implementation and monitoring of each aspect.

25 Organizations that Fund School Nutrition Programs
Compilation of national charities; provincial, territorial, and large municipal government and charitable groups that fund school nutrition programs Program reach and summary Funding information Monitoring activities Contact information (Total budget, opinions of program leaders)

26 Programs National Charities Provincial/territorial government programs
Multiple funding agencies (e.g., Education, Children and Youth Services, Health, Agriculture, Wellness) Maybe more than one program per province/territory May be nutrition-specific or part of a larger program Provincial/territorial charities Government and/or privately funded Municipal governments Municipal charities Industry-sponsored Subsidized milk programs

27 BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program
Program location Program summary Number of programs Grant size Further information British Columbia Provides fresh fruits and vegetables to K-12 public schools and First Nations schools every other week for 13 weeks per school year > 1300 schools and > 433,000 students Provision of ready-to-eat produce 0 0

28 Kids Eat Smart Newfoundland and Labrador
Program location Program summary Number of programs Grant size Further information Newfoundland and Labrador Provides breakfast, lunch, or snack programs to K-12 school children > 200 Kids Eat Smart Clubs Approximately 19,000 children participate; approximately 52,000 have access to programs Assessed on an individual basis 0 0

29 Observations Programs are heavily dependent on volunteers
Over 9500 volunteers in the BC and NL examples Charitable model may result in less control over nutritional quality of food donations Time spent on sustaining programs competes with time spent on program content Potential competition among programs may detract from primary mandate Programs may include educational and other components Convictions are deeply rooted It shouldn’t be sustainable but programs continue to operate

30 Challenges to Sustainability
Access to adequate resources Vulnerability to loss of funding Changes in priorities for funding sources Increasing number of families in need Community indifference or unawareness of local need Strong partnerships between the school and the community, including parents, funding agencies, and other stakeholders, are vital to the long-term sustainability of programs Saskatchewan, 2006

31 Potential “Value-Added” of School Nutrition Programs
Are such programs desirable independent of their potential role as instruments of social policy? School food as a ‘micro-climate’ for comprehensive school health actions Student leadership Environmental sustainability Consumption of local foods Cultural diversity Socialization Nutrition and health education Policy education Awareness of food marketing

32 Questions Are programs adequately addressing the concerns about their value: More evidence is required to adequately assess the contribution these programs can make to (without creating adverse consequences such as dependency or stigmatization) Alleviate hunger Enhance nutrition Contribute to healthy child development Opportunities for increased monitoring and evaluation and sharing of results Individual programs Cross-program processes and outcomes

33 Opportunities Recognize the growing number of programs, their variety, and the basis on which they operate Acknowledge the collective experience within these programs, their potential as partners, and their reach within schools Dialogue and share to better understand current practices, challenges, tensions, and needs within the field Identify strategic opportunities to contribute to healthy eating for all Canadian school children

34 What do we want for our children?
Mary McKenna Tel:

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