Meals provided in schools offer direct benefits to the health and cognitive development of pupils and, with associated educational and health interventions, can prepare children for a lifetime of healthy nutrition. They may also encourage school enrolment for girls at critical nutritional stages, deliver broader nutritional benefits to households, and support other health-related interventions in schools. Furthermore, they can enhance local agricultural production, contributing to food and nutrition security.
This policy brief examines these potential contributions and evaluates the evidence for their effectiveness. Evidence-based successes from diverse contexts are highlighted to illustrate what is technically feasible and economically viable. Particular emphasis is placed on win-win opportunities that can arise from linking school meals with local agriculture and food systems.
A 2-page summary of the messages for policy makers is also appended.
Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition. Healthy meals in schools: policy innovations linking agriculture, food systems and nutrition. Policy Brief No. 3. Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, London, UK (2015) 16 pp.