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Is eating in the school canteen better to fight overweight? A sociological observational study on nutrition in Italian children

Alessandra Decataldo and Brunella Fiore

Children and Youth Services Review, 2018, vol. 94, issue C, 246-256

Abstract: The served meal in the school canteen is traditionally considered an integrative part within the educational and formative activities of the Italian system. This paper analyzes the impact of “school canteen served meal” versus “eating at home” on the possibility of being overweight in the Italian pupils aged 6–10. Studies on the population at risk of childhood overweight represent a fundamental tool because childhood overweight and obesity are related to health risks, medical conditions, and an increased risk of adult obesity, with attendant impacts on morbidity and mortality. The design and methods imply a retrospective population study with data from the 2015 face-to-face multi-purpose survey by ISTAT. Descriptive analysis and binary regression models with interaction effects describe students having school canteen served meals compared to students having lunch at home. The main results highlightlower risk of overweight for those students eating at the school canteen of primary schools, net of the territorial area and the cultural capital of the family. There are different nutritional healthy pattern between school and home meals and, most of all, among the different areas of the country. Beside this, results underline as the “family cultural resources” are prevailing on the “school effect”. Integrating different data source (data from Health Ministry and from Education, University and Research Ministry), the complexity of these results are discussed in the conclusions.

Keywords: School served meals; School full-time; Canteen committees; Overweight; Territorial differences; Family cultural capital; parents' BMI (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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