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Article

Salt Reduction Strategies in Portuguese School Meals, from Pre-School to Secondary Education—The Eat Mediterranean Program

1
WHO Collaborating Centre on Nutrition and Childhood Obesity—National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge (INSA, IP), 1649-016 Lisbon, Portugal
2
Centre for Studies and Research in Social Dynamics and Health (CEIDSS), 1649-016 Lisbon, Portugal
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National School of Public Health, NOVA University of Lisbon, 1600-560 Lisbon, Portugal
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Centre for Health Policy, Institute of Global Health Innovation, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK
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University of Warwick, WHO Collaborating Centre for Nutrition, Warwick Medical School, Coventry CV2 2DX, UK
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WHO European Office for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases, 125009 Moscow, Russia
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Regional Health Administration of Lisbon and Tagus Valley (ARSLVT), 1700-179 Lisbon, Portugal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2020, 12(8), 2213; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12082213
Received: 23 June 2020 / Revised: 7 July 2020 / Accepted: 16 July 2020 / Published: 24 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Child Obesity and Nutrition Promotion Intervention)
High sodium (salt) consumption is associated with an increased risk of developing non-communicable diseases. However, in most European countries, Portugal included, sodium intake is still high. This study aimed to assess the sodium content of school meals before and after the Eat Mediterranean (EM) intervention—a community-based program to identify and correct nutritional deviations through the implementation of new school menus and through schools’ food handlers training. EM (2015–2017) was developed in 25 schools (pre to secondary education) of two Portuguese Municipalities, reaching students aged 3–21 years old. Samples of the complete meals (soup + main course + bread) from all schools were collected, and nutritional quality and laboratory analysis were performed to determine their nutritional composition, including sodium content. Overall, there was a significant decrease (−23%) in the mean sodium content of the complete school meals, which was mainly achieved by the significant reduction of 34% of sodium content per serving portion of soup. In conclusion, EM had a positive effect on the improvement of the school meals’ sodium content, among the participant schools. Furthermore, school setting might be ideal for nutrition literacy interventions among children, for flavors shaping, and for educating towards less salty food acceptance. View Full-Text
Keywords: community-based program; childhood obesity; school meals; salt intake; sodium consumption community-based program; childhood obesity; school meals; salt intake; sodium consumption
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MDPI and ACS Style

Rito, A.I.; Mendes, S.; Santos, M.; Goiana-da-Silva, F.; Cappuccio, F.P.; Whiting, S.; Dinis, A.; Rascôa, C.; Castanheira, I.; Darzi, A.; Breda, J. Salt Reduction Strategies in Portuguese School Meals, from Pre-School to Secondary Education—The Eat Mediterranean Program. Nutrients 2020, 12, 2213. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12082213

AMA Style

Rito AI, Mendes S, Santos M, Goiana-da-Silva F, Cappuccio FP, Whiting S, Dinis A, Rascôa C, Castanheira I, Darzi A, Breda J. Salt Reduction Strategies in Portuguese School Meals, from Pre-School to Secondary Education—The Eat Mediterranean Program. Nutrients. 2020; 12(8):2213. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12082213

Chicago/Turabian Style

Rito, Ana I., Sofia Mendes, Mariana Santos, Francisco Goiana-da-Silva, Francesco P. Cappuccio, Stephen Whiting, Ana Dinis, Carla Rascôa, Isabel Castanheira, Ara Darzi, and João Breda. 2020. "Salt Reduction Strategies in Portuguese School Meals, from Pre-School to Secondary Education—The Eat Mediterranean Program" Nutrients 12, no. 8: 2213. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12082213

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