Barbosa, Roseane Moreira Sampaio; Henriques, PatrÃcia; MendonÃ§a Ferreira, Daniele; De Carvalho, LÃºcia Rosa; Soares, Daniele da Silva Bastos
Introduction: The Brazilian National Plan for Student Assistance (NPSA) aims at improving overall academic performance of undergraduate student. It is important to identify whether the investment in food assistance had a positive impact on the nutritional quality of meals.
Aims: To compare the nutritional quality of meals in a university restaurant (UR) before and after the restructure by NPSA
Methods: The portioning of meals at lunch as served to students was registered in 2011 (Phase I) and 2013 (Phase II) for determination of percent carbohydrates, proteins and lipids, as well as the total energy value (TEV), cholesterol, sodium, and fruits and vegetables (FV). The meal quality index (MQI) was estimated from those observations at both phases. Portioning of meals and MQI were compared between phases, and according to current recommendations.
Results: Significant lower values of TEV, lipid, cholesterol and sodium were observed at Phase II (p<0.001 all comparisons). Conversely, significant higher values of proteins and FV were observed at Phase II (p<0.001 both comparisons). The number of meals within the recommended MQI was significantly higher (p<0.001) at Phase II (73.1%) than Phase I (47.7%), whereas the proportion of meals with proteins, FV, cholesterol and sodium was significantly higher (p<0.001).
Conclusions: Nutritional quality of meals at an UR improved after the implementation of the NPSA. Nonetheless, serving standard meals is strongly recommended, mainly regarding salt intake. Finally, these data highlight the need for educational actions with undergraduate students aiming to reduce salt intake and proper portioning of the meal.