Consumption of School Lunches

Although the popularity of school lunches has diminished over the last 10 years, they are still eaten regularly by almost 40% of children, particularly those from lower socioeconomic groups. School lunches have been found to contribute 3040% of total energy and are often criticized for containing a high proportion of fat and low levels of key micronutrients such as vitamin C and calcium. Older children often prefer to eat lunch at cafes and take-aways rather than consider school meals and this practice has been found to relate to lower nutrient-dense diets, particularly in the case of iron. Initiatives have been taken forward in many schools to improve the quality and perception of school meals including action groups involving pupils, caterers, and teachers. There have also been efforts at government level to integrate the production of school meals with classroom-based topics around nutrition, health, and life style. It is too early to say whether these efforts have had a significant impact on the nutrition of adolescents.

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