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Childrens perceptions of school meals and eating in Hull Nigel Wright.

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1 Childrens perceptions of school meals and eating in Hull Nigel Wright

2 Childrens perceptions of school meals and eating in Hull Our data set Key findings Underlying design What the pupils said…. About eating… and…. Key messages

3 Childrens perceptions of school meals and eating in Hull Our data set –Collected by questionnaire over three years – Each year (in June and in 2007 before charges were reintroduced) questionnaires completed by pupils in years 4,5 and 6 –Data gathered from almost every primary school in the city –61 items common to each year –Data set is large, total 17,776 pupils –Near equal responses from boys and girls.

4 Childrens perceptions of school meals and eating in Hull

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6 Key findings –When comparing pupil data from 2007 for those who are eligible for a free school dinner with those who are not indicates that the disadvantage gap does not exist in terms of how pupils report on their eating habits and responses to the free school meals project. –A comparison across 44 items relating to food and eating indicated that there are no statistically significant differences on 40 of these measures between these two groups

7 Childrens perceptions of school meals and eating in Hull The non existence of this disadvantage gap might be represented graphically… non eligible eligible

8 Childrens perceptions of school meals and eating in Hull Key findings contd., –Data indicate that the project has built up a positive impact on pupils eating habits –Prolonged exposure improves impact –Less good habits e.g. no breakfast, eating on way to school are declining –Reasons for not taking school dinners, e.g. dont like it, or prefer packed lunch have declined during the project

9 Childrens perceptions of school meals and eating in Hull Key findings contd., –More boys than girls report hunger When they get to school, would like more to eat, go to bed hungry and often feel hungry –And its worse with younger pupils Over the three years more year 4 pupils have consistently reported –Arriving at school hungry –Often feeling hungry

10 Childrens perceptions of school meals and eating in Hull –Key findings contd., More girls than boys report trying to eat healthily –Consistently more girls than boys report eating the free healthy meals –More girls than boys report liking the meals –Girls report eating more fruit & veg per day

11 Childrens perceptions of school meals and eating in Hull Key findings contd., –Fruit consumption showed an increase 2005 to 2006 but has in 2007 dropped to levels lower than This is evident in all year groups. Reported fruit consumption declines with age Reported consumption of 5 or more pieces per day has not been claimed by more than 33.0% of pupils at any time in the study –Just over half of pupils report drinking 3 or more cups of water per day Boys report drinking more water than girls

12 Childrens perceptions of school meals and eating in Hull Underlying design: a matrix Yr 6 Key group Yr 5 Key group Yr 4 Key group

13 Childrens perceptions of school meals and eating in Hull What the pupils said: –Have you had the free school dinner? Yr 683.9%84.5%94.8% Yr 583.9%85.2%94.5% Yr 486.5%83.5%93.1%

14 Childrens perceptions of school meals and eating in Hull What the pupils said: –Did you like it? Yr %74.6%85.0% Yr %78.4%87.1% Yr %81.9%85.6%

15 Childrens perceptions of school meals and eating in Hull What the pupils said: –Reasons given by those who didnt have the free school dinner Dont like it Prefer Packed lunch %12.7% %15.3% %17.0%

16 Childrens perceptions of school meals and eating in Hull Breakfast –In each year more boys than girls had breakfast at home –With the key group consumption of breakfast at home varied slightly each year but overall showed an increase – % – % – %

17 Childrens perceptions of school meals in Hull Breakfast –Take up at breakfast clubs shows an increase –Key group: % % %

18 Childrens perceptions of school meals in Hull Breakfast –Eating on the way to school shows a decline %, % –Those having no breakfast declined Among the key group – % – % – % –Consumption of fizz for breakfast has declined (9.0% >7.6%) but this still means that over 500 pupils drink fizz for breakfast, 2/3rds of whom are boys.

19 Childrens perceptions of school meals and eating in Hull Evening meals: –Eating hot meals (key group) increased: % % %

20 Childrens perceptions of school meals and eating in Hull Evening meals –Those going to bed hungry declined % % –Those not having anything to eat in the evening also declined % %

21 Childrens perceptions of school meals and eating in Hull Do you try to eat healthily? –Trend is upward, %, % –More girls than boys report trying to eat healthily Overall trend is upwards but down in 06 –In terms of year groups Higher percentages of year 4s (than other year groups) report trying to eat healthily and this has increased from 34.2% to 40.3%

22 Childrens perceptions of school meals and eating in Hull Do you think you are healthy? –More girls report thinking they are healthy than boys Overall trend is upwards but down in 06 –More girls than boys thought their school taught healthy eating

23 Childrens perceptions of school meals and eating in Hull Hunger –We asked 5 key questions about hunger Are you hungry when you get to school? Would you like more for dinner? Are you often hungry? Are you hungry before dinner? Are you hungry before going home? –For the first four, the trend is downwards.

24 Childrens perceptions of school meals and eating in Hull Hunger –In 2005 we identified that boys in year 4 were reporting hunger. –Tracking these through to 2007 the results are :

25 Childrens perceptions of school meals and eating in Hull Dental Issues: –Pupil reported frequency of teeth cleaning has remained largely consistent over the 3 years Twice or more per day was reported by over 4/5ths Less than one fifth reported cleaning only once or not at all.

26 Childrens perceptions of school meals and eating in Hull Dental Issues: –Pupil reported visits to the dentist have changed: Those reporting not going have more than doubled, 10.7% in 2005 to 23.4% in 2007 Those going once have increased from 16.9% % Those reporting going twice have reduced from 24.3% to 17.8% with similar reduction for those reporting going 3 times down from 21.4% to 13.2% –Pupil reported treatments Largely the same except extractions which are down from 14.9% in 2005 to 11.6% in 2007

27 Childrens perceptions of school meals and eating in Hull Conclusions: –Clear signs of success –disadvantage gap not evident in how pupils report about eating and free school dinners –Prolonged exposure produces results –Declining evidence of bad habits –Evidence of gender differences (good male role models needed?) –Curricular message needs to be maintained and reinforced.

28 Childrens perceptions of school meals and eating in Hull Thank you!


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