This week was the National School Meals Week (NSMW) in United Kingdom (UK) sponsored by the Local Authority Caters Association (LACA). It is the biggest national healthy eating awareness week about school meals in Britain. Like the United States' National School Lunch Week, the NSMW encourages everyone to ?Get Involved? in promoting healthy school lunches in primary and secondary schools. The goal is to increase school meal participation, create an interest in healthy food, and support a whole school approach to healthy lifestyle. Similar to United State's School Nutrition Association (SNA), LACA is the professional organization representing 800 school food service managers and suppliers who provide catering services to all sectors of local authorities in England, Wales, and Scotland. They serve more than 3 million school lunches a day in 22,000 schools in UK, compare to nearly 31 million meals a day in nearly 100,000 schools in the US.
The UK is also similar to the US when it comes to the incidence of overweight and obesity. It is a particular problem in Scotland, which has one of the highest levels of obesity in the developed world. The government of Scotland recognizes that in order to properly achieve changes in eating culture they must tackle the issue of poor eating habits in a holistic way. Their approach is to educate children about why it is important to choose a healthy and balanced diet and how that can lead them to make better choices as they move through their school years and into adult life. They embed health and well-being topics in their Curriculum for Excellence, which aims to achieve a transformation in education by providing a coherent, more flexible and enriched curriculum for grade K-12.
In recent years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and SNA have been exchanging ideas and practices with UK and LACA on our shared commitment and efforts to improve nutritional quality of school meals and promote healthy eating habits for children. You can learn more about how parents, students and school food service staff are promoting healthy eating across the pond by following their twitter @NSMW or visit http://www.iloveschoolmeals.co.uk/.