About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

School Lunch or Packed Lunch? Decision Made by Children Not Parents

by Adeline Dorcas on April 6, 2018 at 7:34 PM
Font : A-A+

School Lunch or Packed Lunch? Decision Made by Children Not Parents

Children are the decision-makers, and the decision on school lunch or a packed lunch is made by children and not by their parents, says a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

"Children's role in their packed lunch provision highlights their growing authority over everyday food decisions. Packed lunches provide a unique medium because they connect the school, parent, and student. There is limited research, though, on parents' perspectives and perceptions related to packed lunches, specifically the role of children in food choice and preparation," said lead author Hannah Ensaff, Ph.D., School of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.


Study participants were twenty parents providing a packed lunch for their children (aged 5 - 11 years) attending four urban primary schools in the UK. Focus groups were conducted to promote discussion among parents to gain an understanding of contrasting viewpoints. Key topics explored included reasons for selecting a packed lunch, foods and beverages included and their selection, role of children in preparation, and packed lunch policies.

After analysis of the data, four keys themes emerged: children as a decision maker; priorities when preparing a packed lunch; parents' anxieties and reassurances; and school factors. Even though parents preferred taking advantage of school lunches that are provided at no cost to some families, they were unwilling to force this decision when the child disagreed. The child's food preferences also took precedence when the packed lunch was prepared. Children themselves made specific requests when shopping or the parent packed what they knew would be enjoyed and eaten.

The ability to monitor that lunch had been eaten was cited as a benefit of a packed lunch over school lunch and providing a treat in the packed lunch was also important to parents. The inclusion of treats and other items such as chips, chocolate, and soda is often prohibited by packed lunch guidelines, but parents questioned whether enforcement is possible. They also reported children trying to persuade parents to ignore the policy by reporting on what other children had brought to school.

Children's growing authority over food choice has implications for staff involved in providing school food and presents an opportunity to develop initiatives to promote better food choices and subsequent nutrition," said Dr. Ensaff. "This is particularly important as schools are being used for public health interventions." Further research is needed to explore children's perceptions of their role as active decision makers in food choices both in packed lunches and school meals.

Source: Eurekalert

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Top 7 Benefits of Good Oral Hygiene
Healthy and Safer Thanksgiving 2021
Long-Term Glycemic Control - A Better Measure of COVID-19 Severity
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Amoebic Dysentery Height and Weight-Kids 

Recommended Reading
Parents Must Ensure Children’s Packed Lunch is Healthy
Health workers at NHS Lincolshire are chewing on the results of the survey conducted at schools to ....
School Lunches More Nutritious Than Home-Packed Lunches, Finds US Study
Researchers from Virginia Tech compared school lunches with packed lunches and found that school ......
Healthier Lunch Boxes may Help Improve Kids' Eating Habits
Providing healthy alternatives into a lunch box and more vegetables at the dinner table would be a ....
Healthy Lunchbox Tips and Recipes for Kids
Healthy and interesting lunchbox is what all your kid needs. These tips will help you recreate your ...
Amoebic Dysentery
Amoebic dysentery or amoebiasis is an infection of the intestine that causes diarrhoea most frequent...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use