Published: 26 July 2013

Time for a conversation about school lunches

Professor Jane Ogden discusses latest government recommendations on packed lunches for schoolchildren.

Surrey’s Professor of Health Psychology Jane Ogden has written an article on government proposals for school lunches, published on The Conversation, a new independent source of online news written by the academic and research community. The aim of The Conversation is to create a deeper understanding of current affairs, helping academics to become part of public debate and give an authoritative source of news on the Higher Education sector.

Professor Ogden’s article responds to the School Food Plan, a recently published government-commissioned school food review which claims that packed lunches are nearly always less nutritious than a cooked meal. The review’s authors are recommending that head teachers ban packed lunches to increase the take-up of school dinners and promote healthy eating.

“The government should be digging deeper into the food industry,” says Professor Ogden. “There is still a lot to do and if school lunches are to be a part of it they must be healthy and cheap. But is banning and barring the way forward?

“A government has two options if it is to challenge our obeso-genic environment (one that’s full of things that make us fat). It can ban and bar individuals from being unhealthy. Or it can ban and bar those responsible for our environment.”

You can read Professor Ogden's full article on The Conversation website.