School lunch portion sizes provided for children attending early years settings within primary schools: a cross‐sectional study

PEARCE, Jo and WALL, Claire J. (2023). School lunch portion sizes provided for children attending early years settings within primary schools: a cross‐sectional study. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics.

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Background: In England, many children attend an early years' setting (EYS) that is part of a primary school. Where a school lunch is available, this is often the same for both EYS and school children. This study explored how school lunch portion sizes served for 3–4‐year‐old EYS children compared with portion size guidance for EYS and schools, given that recommendations are different for EYS and school‐aged children. Methods: Twelve schools were recruited in four local authorities, each of which provided a school lunch to children attending EYS (aged 3–4 years) and reception classes (aged 4–5 years) from the same menu. Two portions of each menu item were weighed, each day, for five consecutive days. Mean, median, standard deviation and correlation coefficient were calculated for each food item. Results: Most caterers reported serving the same‐sized portions to both 3–4‐year‐olds and 5–7‐year‐olds. Food items falling outside of the typical range for EYS were more commonly above the range (10 food items) than below it (6 food items). Notably, portions of cakes and biscuits were larger than recommended. Portion weights falling outside of the recommended range for 4–10‐year‐olds were usually too small (12 of 14 items). Some foods provided by the schools in the study did not have typical portion sizes for EYS as they were not ‘good choices of foods to serve’. Conclusions: These results suggest caterers may not be following guidelines appropriate for all the children they are catering for.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: ** Article version: VoR ** From Wiley via Jisc Publications Router ** Licence for VoR version of this article: **Journal IDs: issn 0952-3871; issn 1365-277X **Article IDs: publisher-id: jhn13183 **History: published_online 06-06-2023; accepted 28-04-2023; submitted 31-01-2023
Uncontrolled Keywords: children, portion size, school lunch, portion weight, early years
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SWORD Depositor: Colin Knott
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2023 09:47
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2023 14:02

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