Online survey asks parents about their child's school lunch box

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Researchers want to hear from parents about how they choose what to pack for their children's school lunch at primary school.

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Researchers want to know what parents put in their child's lunch box

The online questionnaire by Leeds Metropolitan University asks parents questions about the contents of their child’s lunch, whether it is a meal provided by the school or a packed lunch, and what their priorities are when considering their child’s lunch options.

The responses will help researchers compile a study, led by Dr Hannah Ensaff from the university’s Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, on parents’ knowledge of their children’s diets.

Dr Ensaff, a research fellow in childhood obesity and child nutrition, explained, ‘School packed lunches can play an important part in children’s nutrition, with children spending 190 days of the year at school.

'More significantly they provide a link between the home and school and can represent a family’s provision of food. Packed lunches have also been identified as a factor in children’s diet, and have been highlighted with respect to the drive for school food reform. 

‘Our study will provide insight into parents’ attitudes and knowledge towards their children’s diets. Such knowledge is critical and will reveal gaps in our understanding and allow us to identify areas for support.

'With the current high prevalence of childhood obesity and children’s diet high in saturated fat and sugar, along with low fruit and vegetable consumption, this research has the potential to make a real impact.’

The results of the questionnaire will help researchers understand parents’ choices when it comes to providing packed lunches for their children, and will contribute towards the development of a resource helping parents to provide nutritious packed lunches.

  • The Packed Lunch Project survey is open to all parents with children in primary school until mid-June. It is available here