P18-028-23 An Investigation Into the Nutritional Profile of School Dinners Served Among School Pupils at the City of Leicester, UK

Jin, Yannan
Khan, Sairah
Agbanusi, Lisa
Plater, Joanne
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Oxford University Press
Peer reviewed
Title: An investigation into the nutritional profile of school lunches served among school pupils at the City of Leicester, UK Sairah Khan, Sue Johnston, Lisa Agbanusi, Joanne Plater, Yannan Jin Objectives Developing healthy dietary behaviours in early years of life is pivotal in preventing childhood obesity and its related health complications. To date, understanding is lacking regarding the daily nutritional intake from school lunches, as the key meal on school days, among pupils in the UK. The study aimed to investigate the nutritional profile of school lunches served among primary school children aged 5 and 11 years old in the City of Leicester. Study methods Two primary schools at the City of Leicester participated in this study. Photographs of pupils’ school lunches served on plates and their age and gender information were anonymously collected. The nutritional content of each pupil’s lunch was analysed using the UK Food Portion-Size Guide and the nutrition analysis software Nutritics®. The nutritional quality of pupil’s lunches was evaluated against the UK Eatwell Guide and the UK Dietary Reference Values (DRV) for energy and nutrient intakes, based on the assumption that pupils’ lunch contributes to one-third of their daily food and nutritional intakes. Data were statistically analysed using One-Sample T Test, SPSS v28.0. Results 89 pupils aged between 5 and 10 years completed the study. Overall, pupils presented a significantly inadequate energy intake from their school lunches (P = 0.000), with a mean deficit of 174.7 kcal (SD = 150.2) when comparing to their respective DRVs. Similarly, suboptimal intakes of a few key micronutrients were also observed, including vitamin D (M = 3.1 µg; SD = 0.6) (P = 0.000); folate (M = 4.5 µg; SD = 17.8) (P = 0.019); vitamin B2 (M = 0.1 mg; SD = 0.1) (P = 0.000); iron (M = 0.8 mg; SD = 0.9) (P = 0.000); zinc (M = 0.9 mg; SD = 1.0) (P = 0.000) and calcium (M = 54.6 mg; SD = 77.0) (P = 0.000). Pupil’s protein and vitamin C intakes were sufficient with a respective surplus of 6.4 ± 8.3 g (P = 0.000) and 3.0 ± 8.3 mg (P = 0.001) over their individual recommended intake levels. Conclusion The study findings provide a latest evidence base for the development of future dietary and policy interventions for tackling the obesity and health inequality issues among children at both regional and national levels.
open access article
Khan, S., Johnston, S., Agbanusi, L., Plater, J., Jin, Y. (2023) An investigation into the nutritional profile of school lunches served among school pupils at the City of Leicester, UK. Current Developments in Nutrition, 7 Supp. 1, 101087
Research Institute