The case for a Canadian national school food program

  • Kimberley Hernandez Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS
  • Rachel Engler-Stringer Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan
  • Sara Kirk School of Health and Human Performance, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS
  • Hannah Wittman Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
  • Sasha McNicholl Community Food Centres Canada
Keywords: school food programs, children, Canada

Abstract

Canada is one of the only member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) without a national school food program. Good nutrition impacts children’s health, wellbeing, and learning; and school food environments offer an important setting to promote health and other food system sustainability behaviours that can last a lifetime. We present an overview of national and international evidence, with a focus on promising practices that support the establishment of a national school food program in Canada. School food programs have been shown to benefit health and dietary behaviour and critical food literacy skills (learning, culture, and social norms) that support local agriculture and promote sustainable food systems. Finally, we make recommendations for key elements that should be included in a national school food program for Canada.

Published
2018-09-30