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School food research: building the evidence base for policy
- Nelson, Michael, Breda, João
- Public health nutrition 2013 v.16 no.6 pp. 958-967
- agricultural education, cost effectiveness, finance, food and nutrition programs, food research, guidelines, information exchange, infrastructure, monitoring, nutrition policy, politics, research programs, stakeholders, Australia, Brazil, China, Hungary, Mexico, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States
- Following an international workshop on developing the evidence base for policy relating to school food held in London, UK, in January 2012, the objectives of the present paper were (i) to outline a rationale for school food research, monitoring and evaluation in relation to policy and (ii) to identify ways forward for future working. The authors analysed presentations, summaries of evidence, and notes from discussions held at the international workshop in London in 2012 to distil common themes and make recommendations for the development of coherent research programmes relating to food and nutrition in schools. International, with an emphasis on middle- and high-income countries. Overviews of existing school food and nutrition programmes from the UK, Hungary, Sweden, the USA, Australia, Brazil, China, Mexico and other countries were presented, along with information on monitoring, evaluation and other research to demonstrate the impact of school feeding on health, attainment, food sourcing, procurement and finances, in the context of interactions between the evidence base and policy decisions. This provided the material which, together with summaries and notes of discussions, was used to develop recommendations for the development and dissemination of robust approaches to sustainable and effective school food and nutrition programmes in middle- and high-income countries, including policy guidelines, standards, cost-effectiveness measures and the terms of political engagement. School food and nutrition can provide a cohesive core for health, education and agricultural improvement provided: (i) policy is appropriately framed and includes robust monitoring and evaluation; and (ii) all stakeholders are adequately engaged in the process. International exchange of information will be used to develop a comprehensive guide to the assessment of the impact of school food and nutrition policy and supporting infrastructure.