G.3. Workshop: The changing face of European school meal culture - implications for public health

2013 European Journal of Public Health  
The Food and Nutrition Section of EUPHA organize a workshop on school food, which is becoming a global public health issue. Different policies in European countries have been used. There is a need to collect and understand these diverse initiatives in order to streamline a European community approach to research and intervention on school food. The workshop aims to do just that by first exposing different models intended to enhance public health by school food in European countries and
more » ... by discussing future steps to structure the emerging research and intervention programs in ways that can better serve European community members in streamlining their initiatives and their services in schools. Collectively, this workshop will produce a draft document outlining those aims as a way to begin enhancing and synthetizing research emerging from different European initiatives and to seek effective media to share such efforts. Bent Egberg Mikkelsen will give an overview of the rising interest in school meal programs. Public health issues, like obesity, demands for better food and nutrition and sustainable eating, and the current reform of school systems has created a change in school food culture and have fuelled a new vawe of public health research into the effects of School Meal Programs (SMP's) and the framework for the role of food and eating known as FoodScape Studies (FSS). Arja Lyytikäinen points that the whole school environment is as important and should be studied and taken into account in nutrition interventions aiming to promote adequate meals and healthy snacking during school day. She says pupils should be considered as responsible counterparts in the development process of school catering. Cecilia Olsson will open the school meal project ProMeal and the different organisations of school meals in the Nordic countries. She talks about the Swedish regulations advices about 'nutritious' school meals and 20 minutes eating time. She will show pictures of children's plates in relation to the planned meal as part of a validation study. Jose A. (Tony) Torralba and Barbara Guidalli will give a southern perspective with a conceptual framework to examine, and understand the eating practices of children in and out of school. The effort is grounded in empirical work they are doing across different sites etc. schools. They suggest the resulting conceptual framework can inform intervention programs in important ways. Annemie Haveman-Nies will combine the school food in a broader view in school environment. She defines implementation factors as indicators for effect of the Dutch school-based nutrition program 'Taste Lessons'. She points that implementation studies are important to obtain insight in the effect of intervention programs in a real-life setting. The panel will focus on defining needs for further actions in European level and the role of Food and Nutrition section in collecting results how public health can be improved by school food. Key messages The interest on school food has rapidly risen. Better food and nutrition at school is a strategy that is investigated in many countries across Europe and seen as a tool to tackle public health issues. School food is a rising public health tool in Europe. Food and Nutrition sections role could be collect efficient models to enhance public health by offering school food with good nutritional quality. There is an urgent need for search for strategies that can counteract the alarming growth in obesity and other nutrition related disorders among young people. Better food and nutrition and more sustainable eating at school are some of the strategies that are developed and investigated in many countries across Europe as a consequence. This new interest in School Meal Programs (SMP's) seems to coincide with the current reform of European school systems that are aiming at creating more competitive curriculas and which in many cases seems to result in longer school days leading to an increased need for food provision. As a result European schools seems to be in transition in terms of the role that food and nutrition play in school life. This paper present a synthesis of recent contributions from public health nutrition research in the growing field of school meal program research. The paper present a typology of different approaches to school meal programs that can be found in European countries and gives a brief account of some of the important trends that seems to be driving the changing image of European school food culture. The paper introduces the idea of foodscapes, present recent contributions from the broad category of FoodScape Studies (FSS) and discusses how the idea of foodscapes can be used as a theoretical and analytical framework for a better understanding of the role that food and eating play at school. The paper finally outlines some of the implications that the changing face of school meals might have for the public health research community. Just to serve a school meal is not enough for promoting fruit and vegetable consumption -insights from Finland Arja Lyytikä inen A Lyytikä inen Unit of Health Promotion and Prevention, Central Finland Health Care District, Jyvä skylä , Finland Contact: arja.lyytikainen@ksshp.fi Although there are wide effort to increase consumption of vegetables and fruit at school and out of school time to improve children's nutrition, still low consumption is a common European challenge to be solved. In the presentation the recent results of fruit and vegetable consumption by the Health Behavior in School-Aged Children study by WHO, the EURO-Urhis study in nineteen cities over Europe and Finnish national follow-ups of eating at schools will be compared and discussed. The studies reviewed show similarly that adolescents' vegetable and fruit consumption is low with decreasing trend. In Finland by the School Health Promotion study only 65 % of pupils at the grades 7 and 8 ate school lunch daily although it is served free of charge by the school law for every child. All the planned components of the meals were eaten only by every third eater. At school meals 79% of the girls and only 57% of boys ate salads. When asking pupils' own voice of school meals, they report lots of negative views, like noisy environment, queuing, short meal break, and taste or quality of served food does not appeal all. About 50% of the pupils consumed snacks during the school day. The most common snacks of boys were candy and soft and energy drinks, and those of girls were candy, soft drinks and sandwiches. Only 13 % of the girls and 7 % of the boys ate fruits as snacks at school weekly. The most common places for purchasing snacks were grocery store, kiosk or service station near the school favouring unhealthy shopping. As a conclusion just serving school lunch is not an adequate solution to get all children to eat varied meal and fresh vegetables daily. Unhealthy snacks override the healthy choices also in school environment although the healthy snacks are commonly served by school canteens in Finland. More information is needed of children's food choice, taste preferences and school restaurants as an eating environment. The whole school foodscape including school yard, shopping centres, service stations, sport halls and vending machines close to school need to be in focus. The pupils themselves should be considered more as responsible counterparts who participate in the development process of school time eating as a part of health and welfare learning in school.
doi:10.1093/eurpub/ckt187.007 fatcat:hef4rvqkgnexzfkg72icn6loxa