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New Brunswick doctors, dietitians to expand analysis of school menus, ask parents for help

New Brunswick’s doctors and dietitians are giving school menus their annual check-up – this time with a much more in-depth examination.

The New Brunswick Medical Society and NB Dietitians in Action have renewed their partnership for the popular Make Menus Matter campaign, which asks parents and students to post pictures of their cafeteria menu on social media. For the project’s second run, registered dietitians have already analyzed over a hundred publicly-available school menus from around New Brunswick to determine how well they align with provincial nutritional guidelines. The health professionals are calling on parents to share photos of their child’s menu this year to help round out their analysis.

“We heard from numerous parents, doctors and dietitians who felt the work we started in 2013 wasn’t done yet,” said Dr. Camille Haddad, President of the New Brunswick Medical Society. “We listened, and decided to take a closer look this time around.”

The project’s first run in late 2013 asked parents to share a photo of their child’s school menu with the Medical Society. In total, 36 menus were received, with every school district in the province represented.

“Last year, we wanted to see what was really happening with food in schools around New Brunswick,” said Vanessa Yurchesyn, Co-Chair of NB Dietitians in Action. “We want to do the same this year, but we need more data to back up our findings.”

The analyzed menus cover the food offered in schools to over 40,000 learners. The call to parents to send in their menus starts today and lasts one week, and the results of the analysis will be released next week.

The second run of Make Menus Matter also introduces two new components. During the project’s second week, students are invited to share a photo of their school lunch on Medical Society social media channels and tag it with #whatiate. In the third week, a “Where to Eat” guide to food served in New Brunswick schools will be released, highlighting examples of outstanding food.

“We’re excited about the expanded scope of this project and look forward to hearing from parents,” said Dr. Haddad.

Media contact: Aleisha Bosch, New Brunswick Medical Society, (506)458-8860, abosch@nbms.nb.ca