The Impact of Canadian School Food Programs on Children’s Nutrition and Health: A Systematic Review

Over the past few decades, the quality of children’s diets has declined immensely, giving rise to a variety of health-related consequences. In response to this trend, school food programs have become an increasingly effective method to support nutrition and lifelong healthy eating habits. This systematic review looked at current academic literature pertaining to school nutrition programs in Canada to identify existing interventions and their impacts on children’s nutritional knowledge, dietary behavior, and food intake. This article is written by HEAL team members Paige Colley, Bronia Myer, Jamie Seabrook, and Jason Gilliland.

The review was conducted through a search of numerous databases – ERIC, Education Source, CINAHL, PubMed, SagePub, SCOPUS, EMBASE, and CBCA – to extract information regarding program objectives, intervention design and components, research evaluation, and primary outcomes of school food programs. The programs reviewed incorporated a variety of intervention components including policy, education, family and community involvement, and/or food provision, and were positively associated with children’s development of nutrition knowledge, dietary behavior changes, and intake of healthy foods. This association, however, was limited by barriers associated with intervention duration, intensity, and availability of resources.

This study was made possible through trainee support provided by the Children’s Health Foundation through the Children’s Health Research Institute.

Read the full article here:

Keywords: Children, health, nutrition, diet, intervention, systematic review, food, food program, school

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