Author: Smith, Twyla Marie
This study investigates the potential for expanding school meal programs to improve the diets of children in British Columbia (BC). A jurisdictional scan reveals a patchwork of existing programs across the province, but the majority are supplemented by charitable donations and volunteers, and many children do not have access to healthy foods during school hours. Case studies of 3 large-scale meal programs (England, Sweden, and Alberta) are analyzed using Comprehensive School Health as a lens to determine characteristics of successful programs and assess their applicability to the BC context. Expert interviews complement and verify the findings. Drawing on these findings, policy options are developed and evaluated on their performance on six criteria: effectiveness, equity, child development, cost, administrative complexity, and stakeholder acceptance. Based on this analysis, this study recommends funding a single non-profit partner to distribute funding to school districts and provide centralized support.
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