Department of Management

Are school meals a viable and sustainable tool to improve the healthiness and sustainability of children´s diet and food consumption?: A cross-national comparative perspective

Research output: Research - peer-reviewJournal article



  • Marije Oostindjer
    Marije OostindjerNorwegian University of Life SciencesNorway
  • Jessica Aschemann-Witzel
  • Qing Wang
    Qing WangNorwegian University of Life Sciences
  • Silje Elisabeth Skuland
    Silje Elisabeth SkulandOslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences
  • Bjørg Egelandsdal
    Bjørg EgelandsdalNorwegian University of Life Sciences
  • Gro V. Amdam
    Gro V. AmdamNorwegian University of Life SciencesSchool of Life Sciences Arizona, State University
  • Alexander Schjøll
    Alexander SchjøllOslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences
  • Mark C. Pachucki
    Mark C. PachuckiDepartment of Sociology, Computational Social Science Institute, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Paul Rozin
    Paul RozinDepartment of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania
  • Jarrett Stein
    Jarrett SteinNetter Center for Community Partnerships, University of Pennsylvania
  • Valérie Lengard Almli
    Valérie Lengard AlmliNofima AS
  • Ellen van Kleef
    Ellen van KleefMarketing and Consumer Behaviour Group, Wageningen UniversityNetherlands
There is little agreement among governments, institutions, scientists and food activists as to how to best tackle the challenging issues of health and sustainability in the food sector. This essay discusses the potential of school meals as a platform to promote healthy and sustainable food behavior. School meal programs are of particular interest for improving public diet because they reach children at a population scale across socio-economic classes and for over a decade of their lives, and because food habits of children are more malleable than those of adults. Current research on the history and health implications of school meal programs is reviewed in a cross-national comparative framework, and arguments explored that speak for the need of a new developmental phase of school meals as an integrative learning platform for healthy and sustainable food behavior. Nutritional, social, practical, educational, economical, political, and cultural perspectives and challenges linked to the implementation of healthy and sustainable school meals are discussed. Finally, the need for long-term interventions and evaluations is highlighted and new research directions are proposed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition
Issue number18
Pages (from-to)3942-3958
StatePublished - 2017

    Research areas

  • school meals, food behavior, health, sustainability, learning, children

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