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Revista chilena de nutrición

On-line version ISSN 0717-7518


NAVARRO, Alejandra et al. Nutritional value of the lunch offered by a non-governmental organization to children between 4 and 12 years of age in marginal urban areas of San José, Costa Rica, 2017-2018. Rev. chil. nutr. [online]. 2020, vol.47, n.4, pp.552-560. ISSN 0717-7518.


The lack of data at a national and regional level regarding the nutritional value (NV) of the food offered in community feeding programs run by Non-Governmental Organizations, which serve the population of marginal urban areas (an important indicator of infant health), along with the increase in the prevalence of excess weight reported in 2016 by the Ministry of Public Education of Costa Rica, justifies the study of the NV of the lunch served to preschool and school-aged children, who participate in complementary feeding programs in marginal urban areas of San José, Costa Rica.


321 meals served were analyzed over 12 days, in 2 food services. Recipes were reconstructed, and portion sizes were determined by direct weighing of food served and the average NV per dish was calculated.


The energy value of the lunch served was similar to the nutritional recommendation. However, for the values of protein, total fat, unsaturated fat, dietary fiber, calcium and potassium which were lower than the nutritional recommendation and on the contrary, the content of total carbohydrates, added sugar, saturated fat and sodium was excessive.


It is not enough to offer minors an adequate energy amount. Nutrient excesses and deficiencies reflect an obesogenic food pattern, which adds vulnerability to the condition of poverty and extreme poverty of the child population of marginalized urban areas.

Keywords : Community feeding programs; Food quality; Non-Governmental Organization; Marginal urban areas; Nutritional value; Obesity; Preschoolers; Schoolchildren.

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