School Food and Nutrition: Boosting school-based policies and programmes for an enhanced impact on child nutrition, community development and local food system transformation

Poor diets and malnutrition have adverse effects on children’s health, school performance and ability to learn, reducing their productivity and earning potential and, with it, their country’s human capital. Current food systems are not delivering healthy diets for all and are marked by critical inequities along the production-consumption continuum– from stark disparities in the distribution of inputs, services and opportunities among food supply chain actors (such as rural smallholder farmers), to restrictive access to nutritious foods in vulnerable groups (such as low-income children and women). School-based policies and programmes have been recognized globally as a means of addressing some of these interconnected issues, yet, despite commendable progress by many countries, there are persistent challenges that impair their success. For instance, synergies between food and agriculture, nutrition, education, social protection and other interventions implemented through schools are not fully realized. Impact is not usually measured and efforts are often small-scale or fragmented. FAO’s School Food and Nutrition (SFN) Framework is a direct response to the call for better nutrition and food system transformation in the context of the SDGs and the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition (2016–2025). The Framework is based on a holistic approach that seeks synergies between policy, programmatic and institutional actions along the school food environment, nutrition education, value chain development and local procurement of school food.