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Socio-economic and demographic variations in school lunch participation of French children aged 3-17 years

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journal contribution
posted on 2011-01-01, 00:00 authored by C Dubuisson, S Lioret, A Dufour, G Calamassi-Tran, J L Volatier, L Lafay, D Turck
Objective: To assess school canteen attendance in a French nationally representative sample of children and to analyse its association with the socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of the children and their families.
Design: Data from the second French national cross-sectional food consumption survey (INCA2), performed in 2006–2007, were used. Information on usual weekly school canteen attendance was collected through a self-reported questionnaire, and demographic and socio-economic variables through a face-to-face questionnaire. The associations between school canteen attendance and the socio-economic and demographic variables were investigated by multivariate logistic regression analyses.
Setting: The INCA2 sample was representative of the children aged 3–17 years in France.
Subject: Analysis was performed on 1413 schoolchildren who completed the school canteen attendance questions.
Results: Some 65?6% of schoolchildren aged 3–17 years had school lunch at least once weekly. This rate of attendance was positively correlated with age. Whatever the school level, school canteen attendance was positively associated with the educational level of the caregiver/parent. In pre- and elementary-school children, enrolment at the school canteen was also higher when the caregiver/parent worked, or in single-parent families. In secondary-school children, school lunch participation decreased with children living in more densely populated areas and increased with the level of the household’s living standards.
Conclusions: School canteen attendance was positively associated with children’s socio-economic background. This could reduce the effectiveness of the forthcoming school meal composition regulations designed to improve the diet of children from deprived backgrounds, who are more likely to have unhealthy food habits.



Public health nutrition






227 - 238


Cambridge University Press


Cambridge, England







Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal; C Journal article