Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
GERALDO, Ana Paula Gines; BANDONI, Daniel Henrique and JAIME, Patrícia Constante. Nutritional information of meals supplied by companies participating in the Workers Meal Program in São Paulo, Brazil. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2008, vol.23, n.1, pp. 19-25. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892008000100003.
OBJECTIVE:To compare the nutritional value of meals provided by companies participating in the Workers Meal Program in the city of São Paulo, Brazil, to the nutritional recommendations and guidelines established by the Ministry of Health for the Brazilian population. METHODS:The 72 companies studied were grouped according to economic sector (industrial, services, or commerce), size (micro, small, medium, or large), meal preparation modality (prepared on-site by the company itself, on-site by a hired caterer, or off-site by a hired caterer), and supervision by a dietitian (yes or no). The per capita amount of food was determined based on the lunch, dinner, and supper menus for three days. The nutritional value of the meals was defined by the amount of calories, carbohydrates, protein, total fat, polyunsaturated fat, saturated fat, trans fat, sugars, cholesterol, and fruits and vegetables. RESULTS:Most of the menus were deficient in the number of fruits and vegetables (63.9%) and amount of polyunsaturated fat (83.3%), but high in total fat (47.2%) and cholesterol (62.5%). Group 2, composed of mostly medium and large companies, supervised by a dietician, belonging to the industrial and/or service sectors, and using a hired caterer, on averaged served meals with higher calorie content (P < 0.001), higher percentage of polyunsaturated fat (P < 0.001), more cholesterol (P = 0.015), and more fruits and vegetables (P < 0.001) than Group 1, which was composed of micro and small companies from the commercial sector, that prepare the meals themselves on-site, and are not supervised by a dietitian. Regarding the nutrition guidelines set for the Brazilian population, Group 2 meals were better in terms of fruit and vegeta-ble servings (P < 0.001). Group 1 meals were better in terms of cholesterol content (P = 0.05). CONCLUSIONS:More specific action is required targeting company officers and managers in charge of food and nutrition services, especially in companies without dietitian supervision.
Keywords : Nutrition programs and policies; health promotion; chronic disease; menu planning; workplace; Brazil.