Assessment of the consensus document on food in educational centres to evaluate school menus

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Abstract

Objective: To explore the applicability of the Consensus Document on School Food Programmes in Educational Centres (DCSECE) to evaluate the adaptation of school menus to healthy eating recommendations. Method: Transversal study that analyzes monthly school menus from 28 early-childhood education and primary education centres in Andalusia and Canary Islands (Spain). Data were collected using an ad-hoc protocol based on the DCSECE recommendations and divided into food categories and subcategories. We studied the weekly menu offering of each of the foods by category and subcategory and compared them to the DCSECE recommendations. Results: The majority of the schools offered better meals than as specified by the recommendations, in terms of vegetables, other garnishes and other deserts. They offered poorer quality meals in the categories of rice, pasta, prepared foods and salads, and had an equivalent offering in terms of pulses, meats, fish and eggs. By subcategory, we observed the predominance of cooked vegetables in the vegetable category as compared to salads, and the predominance of processed meats in the meats category. Conclusions: The DCSECE could be a useful instrument for evaluating the nutritional offering of school menus. However, there is a need for greater specificity in the recommendations, in order to identify whether these menus adhere to healthy eating recommendations.

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Soares, P., Martínez-Milán, M. A., Comino, I., Caballero, P., & Davó-Blanes, M. C. (2019). Assessment of the consensus document on food in educational centres to evaluate school menus. Gaceta Sanitaria. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gaceta.2019.08.008

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