A study conducted by the chair of food and nutritional sciences at Brescia University college, Dr. Paula Dworatzek and the help of undergraduate students looked at the eating habits of over 300 students in 19 Thames Valley elementary schools, compared to Canada’s food guide.
Her research found that more than half of London elementary school students failed to meet the standards of Canada Food Guide recommendations. For example, only 40 percent of the children were packed with any vegetables for lunch.
What Dworatzek found most interesting is that schools with ‘balanced school days’, which means the lunch break is separated into two different periods. She suspects the extra lunch break makes parents more likely to pack more sugary snacks to keep the child content throughout the day.
The doctor understands the challenges for parents to pack their children a healthy balanced lunch, however, she thinks it would be beneficial for schools to implement a national school food program that offers healthy options at school.
The study was funded by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and published in the Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research.