A school meal study: comparing platewaste and likings of packed lunch and school lunch based on the New Nordic Diet

Anne Vibeke Thorsen, Anne Dahl Lassen, Lene M. Christensen, Anja Pia Biltoft-Jensen, Rikke Andersen, C. T. Damsgaard, R. A. Petersen, Inge Tetens

Research output: Contribution to journalConference abstract in journalResearchpeer-review


Background and objectives: The majority of Danish children do not eat in accordance with the national dietary guidelines. The OPUS School Meal Study is a school-based intervention study testing the health effects of the New Nordic Diet (NND). The aim of this sub-study was to compare edible plate waste and self-reported likings between packed lunch from home and the served NND meal.

Methods: The OPUS School Meal study is a cluster-randomized controlled 2-period cross-over study consisting of two three-month periods: an intervention period (NND) and a control period. 187 children (8-11y) at two schools were assigned to the food waste sub-study. Edible plate waste was measured by weighing individually the meal for 5 consecutive days before and after lunch at the end of each dietary period. Self-reported smiley ratings from a web-based dietary assessment software for children were compared to edible plate waste. Data were statistical modelled in two steps, a generalised linear mixed model was fitted for the probability of waste/no waste, and secondly a model for positive waste data was fitted.

Results: 74% of all meals (N=1558) had edible plate waste (>5g). Looking at all lunches the odds for leaving edible plate waste was 11 times higher for NND than for packed lunch (P < 0.001). Looking at the meals (N=1060) with edible plate waste the amount was not significantly different between meal types; the median (IQR) for NND was 85.0 (36.5; 150.0) and the median (IQR) for packed lunch 70.0 (40.0; 119.0). Lunches rated as ‘really bad’ or ‘bad’ in the self-reported likings had more waste than lunches rated ‘really good’ (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: The odds of having edible plate waste were significantly higher for NND meals compared to packed lunch. Liking of school meals are a significant determinant in order to reduce edible plate waste.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberPO1247
JournalAnnals of Nutrition and Metabolism
Issue numberSupplement 1
Pages (from-to)862-863
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventIUNS 20th International Congress of Nutrition - Granada, Spain
Duration: 15 Sept 201320 Sept 2013
Conference number: 20


ConferenceIUNS 20th International Congress of Nutrition
Internet address


  • School intervention
  • Weighed plate waste method
  • New nordic diet
  • Packed lunch


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