Nutritional quality of the school day diet in Irish Children

Research from Ireland has shown that food eaten in schools by children were higher in added sugar and lower in dietary fibre than food consumed before or after school.

Information collected during the National Children’s Food Survey (2003–2004) was used to determine what children ate before school, at school and after school. At that time almost 600 children aged 5-12 weighed all the food they ate for seven days. This project was part funded by safefood and showed that more than one in five (22%) of children aged 5 to 12 years were carrying excess body weight and highlighted low fruit and vegetable intakes and high intakes of fat and salt among many children, as well as low intakes of certain key nutrients such as calcium and iron, which are essential for healthy growth and development, particularly among girls. It also revealed high levels of TV viewing among the children.

The current research showed that children get 16% of energy provided from food eaten ‘before school’, 33% from food eaten ‘at school’ and 53% of energy from food eaten ‘after school’. Relative to the overall school-day, food eaten ‘at school’ was relatively high in added sugars and sodium; lower in fibre and micronutrients; and similar in saturated fat food eaten ‘before school’ was lower in saturated fat and sodium, and higher in fibre and many micronutrients. compared to the overall school-day, and food eaten ‘after school’ was relatively high in fibre and vitamin A; similar in saturated fat, magnesium and sodium; and lower in added sugars, ‘B’ vitamins, vitamin C and vitamin D compared to the overall school-day.

Posted: 07/02/2014 12:58:48 by Laura Keaver


 

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