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  • Publication
    Many School Lunches Deficient in Nutrients
    A survey of 500 Dublin schoolchildren in the 9-to-12-year-old age group showed that about 4% of them missed breakfast and about 80% ate lunch at school. The results showed that only a small percentage of children attained the recommended lunch allowance (RLA) for the individual nutrients. The mean energy intake was about 58% of the RLA for the whole sample, protein intake about 57%, iron 47%, calcium 75% and vitamin C 93%. Children at urban corporation schools generally had lower intakes of nutrients than children from the other types of school. They also had a less varied diet at school than children from urban non-corporation and rural schools; a higher percentage of the latter consumed fruit, butter, biscuits, cake, potato crisps and soft drinks. Although milk was freely available at urban corporation schools at the time of the survey only 47% of children at these schools actually consumed it. Cereal-based foods, dairy products and confectionery (including potato crisps) supplied 31, 23 and 22% of the energy for children who lunched at school. Fruit and salad consumption was small. About 59% of children ate white bread and buns, and only 6% ate brown bread. Many children consumed nothing at school except biscuits, crisps, soft drinks and sweets. This article outlines the results of the survey and discusses the implications for the health and nutrition of the children.