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An Environmental and Nutritional Evaluation of School Food Menus in Bahia, Brazil That Contribute to Local Public Policy to Promote Sustainability

Kluczkovski, A., Menezes, C. A., da Silva, J. T. , Bastos, L., Lait, R., Cook, J., Cruz, B., Cerqueira, B., Lago, R. M. R. S., Gomes, A. N., Ladeia, A. M. T., Schmidt Rivera, X., Vianna, N., Reynolds, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-1073-7394, Oliveira, R. R. & Bridle, S. L. (2022). An Environmental and Nutritional Evaluation of School Food Menus in Bahia, Brazil That Contribute to Local Public Policy to Promote Sustainability. Nutrients, 14(7), 1519. doi: 10.3390/nu14071519

Abstract

Aimed at improving the quality of school meals, the Sustainable School Program (SSP) implemented low-carbon meals, twice a week, in 155 schools of 4 municipalities, reaching more than 32,000 students. This study evaluated the environmental impact and nutritional viability of this intervention for this population. The 15 most repeated meals from the conventional and sustainable menus were selected, and we considered the school age group and number of meals served per student/day. Nutritional information was calculated using validated food composition tables, nutritional adequacy was assessed using National School Feeding Program (PNAE) requirements, the level of processing was considered using NOVA classification, and greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE) were estimated using food life cycle assessment (LCA) validated data. We found both conventional and sustainable food menus are equivalent, in terms of nutrients, except for calcium, iron, and magnesium. Sustainable food menus were cholesterol-free. However, there was a reduction of up to 17% in GHGE, depending on the school age group analysed. Considering the greater energy efficiency and lower environmental impact of these food menus, the SSP, therefore, demonstrates that a substantial reduction in climate impact is feasible, successful, and can be an inspiration to other regions globally.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
Publisher Keywords: climate change; GHGE; plant-based diets; public school meals; nutrition; diet quality; children health; sustainable school program; healthy citizen; food provision
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: School of Health Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
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