Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Foods and Nutrition


Dr. Paula Dworatzek


The Balanced School Day (BSD), an alternative to the Traditional Schedule (TS), provides two 20-minute eating periods during the school day, rather than a midday lunch break. Widespread implementation of the BSD schedule has occurred across Ontario with limited systematic evaluation of potential health outcomes. The purpose of this study was to compare the food and nutrient value of grade 3 and 4 students’ packed lunch contents and consumption in the BSD versus TS, by direct observation. When compared to the TS, more BSD students had a sugar-sweetened beverage packed in their lunch. Greater portions of snack items were also packed and consumed in the BSD. Correspondingly, children in the BSD consumed more energy, carbohydrates, saturated fatty acids, total sugar, and percent energy from total sugar than in the TS. These findings suggest the BSD may negatively affect the quality of packed lunches, increasing the risk of adverse health outcomes.