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Adjustments of food and environment during school lunch

PhD project The Swedish educational act states that all pupils have the right to be served a free nutritious school meal. The purpose is to give all pupils equal opportunities to optimize learning in school. Some pupils experience difficulties in relation to the served meal or the surrounding environment. This research project aims to increase knowledge and understanding of adjustments made in the school restaurant for these individuals.

The research project aims to increase knowledge about school lunch for pupils in need of adjustments regarding the served meal or the environment in the school restaurant. This is in light of the fact that some pupils may experience eating difficulties and have increased sensitivity in environments with many sensory impressions. Studies in the field could contribute to future guidelines. This can result in better conditions for learning and, in a broader perspective, expand the possibilities for a more accessible and inclusive school restaurant for all pupils.

Doctoral student

Susanna Sandberg
Doctoral student

Project overview

Project period:

2020-09-01 2025-08-30

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Education, Department of Food, Nutrition and Culinary Science, Umeå School of Education

Research area

Food, Nutrition and Culinary Science

Project description

For some pupils the school lunch is more complex than just eating a meal. The school restaurant can be challenging for those who experience sensitivity to noisy and loud spaces. In previous research the school restaurant is describes as such an environment. Hyper- or hyposensitivity, or selectivity towards specific foods can affect the food intake and feeding difficulties are therefore common. The served school lunch can be adjusted to be accepted by the individual pupil, but how adjustments are made differs between schools and municipalities.

A school for everyone includes that the school restaurant should be accessible to all pupils including the conditions to eat enough. In this study, we intend to contribute with knowledge and increased understanding of school lunch in primary school for pupils in grades 4–6 who are in need of adjustments of the food and/or the meal environment. This will be conducted through observations in the school restaurant and interviews with pupils, teachers, and school meal staff at the school.

Extended studies within the field can contribute to future guidelines and clearer recommendations for adjustments made in the school restaurant, focusing both on the environment and the served meal. This is important in order to optimize the conditions for specific groups of pupils, but also to increase the opportunities to make the school restaurant accessible and inclusive to all pupils.

The project is a PhD project in collaboration between the Department of Food, Nutrition and Culinary Science, the Department of Education and Umeå School of Education. The project is carried out within The Postgraduate School in the Educational Sciences.

Learn more

The Postgraduate School in the Educational Sciences

Latest update: 2023-03-10