Nordic school meals improve blood pressure, plasma triglyceride and insulin despite increasing waist circumference: the opus school meal study

C. T. Damsgaard, S. Dalskov, R. P. Laursen, C. Ritz, M. F. Hjorth, L. Lauritzen, L. B. Sørensen, R. A. Petersen, M. R. Andersen, S. Stender, R. Andersen, Inge Tetens, C. Mølgaard, A. Astrup, K. F. Michaelsen

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Abstract

Background and aims
Metabolic syndrome (MetS)-features are increasingly seen in childhood. Healthy school meals may help prevent lifestyle diseases from childhood, but well-designed trials are lacking.

Aims
We investigated the effect of providing school meals rich in fish, vegetables and fibre on MetS-markers in 8-11-year-olds at nine Danish schools without existing school meal programmes.


Methods
In a cluster-randomized cross-over design we assigned 834 third and fourth graders to school lunch and snacks based on the New Nordic Diet and usual home-packed lunch (control) for 3 months. We measured blood pressure, lipid profile, insulin resistance based on the Homeostasis Model of Assessment (HOMA-IR), anthropometry and body composition at baseline, month 3 and 6.

Results
Seventy-six% of the children were normalweight; 10% were underweight and 14% overweight/obese. The NND school meals did not affect a composite MetS-score but reduced diastolic blood pressure -0.5 mmHg (95% CI -1.0;-0.0), total cholesterol -0.05 mmol/L (-0.08;-0.02) (P=0.001), HDL cholesterol -0.02 mmol/L (-0.03;-0.00), triglyceride -0.02 mmol/L (-0.04;-0.00) (both P<0.05) and HOMA-IR -0.10 points (-0.16;-0.04) (P=0.001) compared to control in intention-to-treat-analyses (n=823). Waist circumference and BMI increased 0.5 cm (0.3;0.7) (P<0.001) and 0.03 kg/m2 (0.00;0.07) (P=0.03) relative to control, but BMI z-scores were not affected. Overall, complete-case-analyses and adjustment for parental education, puberty and physical activity confirmed these results.

Conclusions
Nutritionally balanced school meals improved blood pressure, plasma triglyceride and glucose homeostasis in 8-11-year-old children, despite small increases in BMI and waist circumference. OPUS (Optimal well-being, development and health for Danish children through a healthy New Nordic Diet) was funded by the Nordea Foundation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2014
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventThe 2nd international conference on nutrtion and growth - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 30 Jan 20141 Feb 2014
Conference number: 2

Conference

ConferenceThe 2nd international conference on nutrtion and growth
Number2
CountrySpain
CityBarcelona
Period30/01/201401/02/2014

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