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Comparison of a sample of primary school dinners

to current nutritional standards


L. McGufn
1
, J. McBratney
2
, T. A. McCrorie
1
and
H. McCarthy
1
1
NICHE, University of Ulster, Coleraine, UK and
2
Public
Health Agency, Belfast, UK
e-mail: mcgufn-l@email.ulster.ac.uk
Background: School lunches contribute approximately one
third of a childs daily nutrient intake (Gregory et al., 2000).
In 2008 the School Food Trust (SFT) introduced the Food
and Nutrient Based standards (FNS) in primary schools (PS)
in England to replace the Food Based standards (FBS) which
were reported to be poor in providing nutritious school
lunches (SFT, 2007). For the purpose of this research the SFTs
Nutrient Based standards (NBS) will be used to compare to
the Northern Ireland (NI) school menus. The aim of this pro-
ject was to investigate if a small sample of NI school menus
meets the NBS while following the current FBS.
Methods: Three primary schools in NI were selected by the
Public Health Agency (PHA). Each school provided 4 week
menu cycles (beverages not included) and recipes for nutrient
analysis (WISP, v3.0 Tinuviel Software Ltd, UK). Nutrients
were calculated as actual daily provision of school lunches per
pupil. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS (SPSS Inc.,
Chicago, IL, USA). Data was assessed for normality using the
KolmogorowSmirnov test. The median results for each nutri-
ent were compared to the NBS using a Wilcoxon Signed Rank
Test.
Results: Some of the key nutrients which were found to have
signicant differences between the schools nutrient analysis
and the NBS (mean (IQR) are shown in Table 1. While not
statistically signicant, saturated fat for each school fell below
the NBS. A more concerning result was found for School A
that calcium fell below the NBS although this was not signi-
cant.
Discussion: Overall, the SFTs NBS were met by all schools
with the exception of iron, which was signicantly lower and
sodium, which was signicantly higher. Previous research in
England also found that PS did not meet NBS for sodium and
iron (SFT, 2007). On the other hand, this previous research
suggested that English PS were not meeting standards for car-
bohydrates, saturated fat, non-milk extrinsic sugars, calcium
and bre when following the FBS (SFT, 2007). While this cur-
rent investigation suggests these three PS do meet the NBS for
this list of nutrients, there are a number of limitations to the
study. Wastage of the school meals was not taken in to consid-
eration and standard recipes were used when schools did not
provide their own recipes.
Conclusion: Although this investigation is not representative
of NI schools it does suggest these three PS are likely to be
providing meals which meet the SFTs NBS, while following
the current FBS. Further work in the reformulation of recipes
to address the iron and sodium content of the school menus is
warranted. Larger investigations to examine what foods are
actually consumed by the children will provide more accurate
conclusions.
Table 1 Nutrient analysis of primary school dinners compared with the
School Food Trust Food Based Stanadrds
Nutrient
Based
Standard
*
All
three
Schools
School
A
(n = 60)
School
B
(n = 40)
School
C
(n = 185)
Energy
(kcal)
530 26.5 520
(425,
613)
463
(394,
563)
a
507
(427,
638)
572
(461,
697)
Fat
(g)
Max 20.6 17.8
(12.9,
25.7)
b
16.6
(11.9,
23.1)
b
19.9
(12.9,
25.7)
b
16.2
(13.0,
30.4)
b
Carbohydrate
(g)
Min 70.6 65.6
(53.182.1)
54.9
(47.8,
74.2)
a
61.8
(57.0,
80.9)
78.8
(63.0,
102.9)
Sodium
(mg)
Max 499 573
(389,
827)
c
521
(286,
755)
518
(377,
728)
684
(21,
30)
c
Iron
(mg)
Min 3.0 2.6
(2.2,
3.1)
c
2.3
(1.9,
3.0)
c
2.4
(2.2,
2.9)
c
3
(2.7,
3.7)
abc
Signicant difference to NBS using Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test:
a
P < 0.05,
b
P < 0.001,
c
P < 0.01. *SFT, 2008. n = mean number of
pupils choosing school lunch.
References:
Gregory, J., Lowe, S., Bates, C., Prentice, A., Jackson, L., Smi-
thers, G., Wenlock, R. & Farron, M. (2000) National Diet
and Nutrition Survey-Young People Aged 418 Years Old, Vol
1. London: The Stationery Ofce.
School Food Trust (2007) Childrens lunchtime choices follow-
ing the introduction of food-based standards for school
lunch; observations from six primary schools in Shefeld.
[pdf] Available at: www.schoolfoodtrust.org.uk/UploadDocs/
Contents/Documents/childrens_lunchtime_choices.pdf [Acc-
essed on 2 October 2010].
School Food Trust (2008) Nutrient Based Standards. [pdf]
Available at: http://www.schoolfoodtrust.org.uk/content.
asp?ContentId=641 [Accessed on 2 October 2010].
An investigation of dietary intake of pregnant
women in the third trimester in Northern Ireland
P. McGurk
1
, A. J. Hill
1
and D. R. McCance
2
1
Diabetes Research Group, School of Biomedical Sci-
ences, Faculty of Science, University of Ulster, Coleraine,
uk and
2
Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital, Belfast, UK
e-mail: mcgurk-p2@email.ulster.ac.uk
Background: The pre-conception and pregnancy period con-
tinues to gain recognition as an ideal opportunity to optimise
Abstracts
2011 The Authors
Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 2011 The British Dietetic Association Ltd. 2011 J Hum Nutr Diet, 24, pp. 277310 293
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