Programa de Pós-Graduação em Nutrição

Public Daycare Noncompliance with Prescribed Lunch Menus and Dietary Guidelines

J Am Coll NutrAuthors: Alves MA, Morais TB.



In Brazil, menus for public child daycare centers (PDC) must be planned by a nutritionist in order to meet the infants' nutritional needs and to conform to dietary recommendations. Failure to follow them may jeopardize the infants' health and growth. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to investigate the compliance of actually served lunch menus with the prescribed menus, according to age (7- to 12-month-olds and 13- to 24-month-olds) and whether prescribed and served menus followed the recommended dietary guidelines.


Five PDCs were randomly selected for observation, out of 14 existing in the city of Concordia, Brazil. Data collection was carried out during 6 consecutive weeks in September (fall/winter menus) and October (spring/summer menus) in order to cover the menus representative of the entire year.


Of 60 lunches recorded, only 20% of them matched the prescribed ones entirely; none of the lunches served to infants aged 7-12 months did so. Fourteen food items were prescribed 157 times throughout the year. Omission (number of times on menu but not served) was the most frequent form of noncompliance in the younger group: 62.4% (98/157). Foods more frequently omitted by the cooks were beef, pork, chicken, and lentils. Compliance with dietary guidelines was higher in the prescribed menus and in those actually served to the 13- to 24-month-old age group.


Infants in the 7- to 12-month-old group may be more vulnerable to nutritional inadequacies because menus served to them were less compliant with the prescribed menus. Dietetics professionals should improve the variety of foods on the menus as well as supervise their execution.


child daycare centers; dietetics; food services; guideline adherence; infant care


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