The provision of packed lunches for primary aged children in Wales; A survey of parent’s awareness of the nutritional and compositional standard of a packed lunch compared with the ‘Healthy Eating in Schools (Wales) Regulations 2013’
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Background - Food provision has been governed within schools in Wales since the introduction of regulations in 2013, packed lunches however, remain unregulated. This study aims to discuss parents views as to the healthiness of packed lunch provision in comparison to the new standards. Methods - Twenty-eight participants recorded a ‘typical’ packed lunch they may provide for their child, followed by a questionnaire relating to the meal produced and their views towards its healthiness. The packed lunch contents were then compared with 12 of the food-based and nutritional guidelines contained within the regulations. Results - None (0%) of the 28 participants met all 12 regulations tested within this study. Seventy-five percent of participants were of the assumption that the packed lunch they had provided would meet each of the regulations. Food-based regulations were more commonly met than nutritional standards (3.93, 0.98SD / 2.46, 1.35SD). All (100%) participants met regulations regarding sweetened beverage provision. Age, Gender, Education and household composition did not appear to be linked with the nutritional content of a packed lunch, or a parent's views towards its healthiness. Forty-three percent of participants chose protein as the nutrient of most importance for their child throughout a school day, this however did not appear to correlate to its content within the packed lunch. Levels of saturated fats, protein and sodium were found to be significantly greater within packed lunches than suggested by the regulations. Conclusions - Variation appears to exist between parent’s views of what may constitute a healthy packed lunch and what the Welsh Government considers to be a healthy meal; parents do not necessarily apply their knowledge and opinions of healthy food options when producing a packed lunch for their child.
BSc (Hons) Human Nutrition and Dietetics
BSc (Hons) Public Health Nutrition
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