Nutritional composition, assessed by chemical analyses, of prepared foods available for primary-school children

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Public Health Nutrition: page 1 of 8


Nutritional composition, assessed by chemical analyses, of prepared foods available for primary-school children: a comparison of public and private schools
´ Marcia L Weber1,2 and Tania B Morais2,*Department of Nutrition, University of Alfenas, Alfenas, MG, Brazil: 2Food Quality Control Laboratory, Federal University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil ˜ ˜ Submitted 14 September 2009: Accepted 10 February 2010

Abstract Objective: To assess the nutritional quality of prepared foods available to primaryschool children. Design: Prepared foods available in a public and private school were sampled daily for 4 weeks (a total of forty-five samples) and chemically analysed for protein, fat, carbohydrate, iron, salt and sodium. The results were compared to the nutritional standards for children aged 7–10 years. Setting: Alfenas, south-eastern Brazil. Results: The concentration of protein, lipid, iron and sodium and the energy values of the foods at the private school were significantly higher than those at the public school. No differences were seen in the carbohydrate and salt values. The range of macronutrients was more balanced at the public school in relation to fat and protein. Foods at the private school were, in general, energy-dense. At both the public and private school, they provided the minimum energy and iron. Salt content was over twice the maximum amount, and that for sodium was over three times the amount, in both the public and private school. Conclusions: Overall, foods prepared at the public school were better nutritional quality than those at the private school and those offered in public schools in some developed countries. This finding can probably be explained by the fact that a nutritionist, as required by law, was responsible for planning the menus at the public school. However, corrective action is needed to adjust for the wide variability in energy and nutrient content


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