Nutrition at school:
Study covers school-day eating habits of 16 000
When Norwegian pupils leave home in the morning, the majority have a lunch stowed away with their books. In the autumn of 2011, pupils across the country delved into their schoolbags to reveal the contents of their lunches.
The findings are important to future research on the eating habits of children and adolescents.
Annual research campaign
The school-day food study was last year’s research campaign for children and adolescents under the auspices of the Research Council of Norway. The campaigns are held each year in connection with National Science Week and are designed to promote interest in, and give young people a better understanding of, the ins and outs of research.
The Centre for Science Education at the University of Bergen is a regular collaboration partner. Together with other contributors, they administer the Environmental Education Network at www.sustain.no (or www.miljolare.no in Norwegian).
Traditional lunches still prevail
Professor Lene Frost Andersen at the University of Oslo carries out research on the eating habits of the younger generation. She has analysed the data collected during the school-day food study.
According to Professor Andersen, the traditional Norwegian lunch remains the standard: Most pupils bring lunch from home, and an impressive four of five eat a typical sandwich-based meal at school – often with meat as the filling. Fruit and vegetables have also made their way into the standard fare of many pupils.
Of those who make their own lunch, 85 per cent eat all of their food. The percentage falls to 72 if their lunch was prepared by someone else.
Important information – important research
Politicians, too, are showing an interest in the results of the school-day food study. “Now we know much more about what our children are eating every day. This is important information for parents, researchers and, not least, schools,” states Kristin Halvorsen, Norway’s Minister of Education and Research.
“I hope the pupils who were involved have been bitten by the research bug. The annual research campaign is an important means of showing children what research is really about and inspiring them to continue exploring the world around them to seek new knowledge,” continues Ms Halvorsen.
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