Child poverty rates are rising, particularly in London, putting more children at risk of experiencing food insecurity. Holiday programmes in the UK provide children who receive free schools meals during term time with access to free/low-cost holiday clubs offering nutritious food and enriching activities during the school holidays. This study aimed to investigate whether children’s dietary intake was more adherent to the UK Eatwell Guide throughout the day and meets School Food Standards (SFS) for the lunchtime meal on a club attendance versus a non-attendance day. A repeated measures design was used to assess data on the food and drink intake of children (n = 57) aged 7–16 years old using a 24 h recall method on two separate occasions: once based on an attending club day and once based on a non-attending club day. The results showed children’s diet quality improved (p = 0.007) on an attending club day (mean: 58.0 ± SD 12.6) versus a non-attending club day (51.8 ± 15.0). Children also more closely adhered to the SFS (p = 0.001) on an attending club day (median = 9, interquartile range = 8–9) versus a non-attending club day (median = 7, interquartile range = 6–8). This suggests that holiday programmes targeting children who receive free school meals during term time have the potential to improve children’s dietary behaviours during the school holidays, underlining the importance of holiday programmes to support food security.
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health|
|Publication status||Published - 22 Dec 2021|