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J Nutr Educ Behav. 2013 Nov-Dec;45(6):533-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2013.02.004. Epub 2013 Jun 21.

Dietary standards for school catering in France: serving moderate quantities to improve dietary quality without increasing the food-related cost of meals.

Author information

1
Aix-Marseille University, Marseille, France; INSERM, National Institute of Health and Medical Research, Marseille, France; INRA, National Institute of Agricultural Research, Marseille, France.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess the impact on food-related cost of meals to fulfill the new compulsory dietary standards for primary schools in France.

DESIGN:

A descriptive study assessed the relationship between the level of compliance with the standards of observed school meals and their food-related cost. An analytical study assessed the cost of series of meals published in professional journals, and complying or not with new dietary standards. The costs were based on prices actually paid for food used to prepare school meals.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE:

Food-related cost of meals.

ANALYSIS:

Parametric and nonparametric tests from a total of 42 and 120 series of 20 meals in the analytical and descriptive studies, respectively.

RESULTS:

The descriptive study indicated that meeting the standards was not related to cost. The analytical study showed that fulfilling the frequency guidelines increased the cost, whereas fulfilling the portion sizes criteria decreased it. Series of meals fully respecting the standards (ie, frequency and portion sizes) cost significantly less (-0.10 €/meal) than series not fulfilling them, because the standards recommend smaller portion sizes.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:

Introducing portion sizes rules in dietary standards for school catering may help increase dietary quality without increasing the food cost of meals.

KEYWORDS:

France; cost analysis; food services; guidelines; meal planning; school meals

PMID:
23796418
DOI:
10.1016/j.jneb.2013.02.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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