Kita food is not a balanced diet

Kita food is not a balanced diet

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Bertelsmann Stiftung criticizes deficits in daycare catering - porters are fighting back

After the Bertelsmann Foundation found in a study on daycare catering that daycare children often do not get a balanced diet, numerous institutions and municipal agencies have outraged to speak up. The food on offer is excellent and balanced, it can be heard from many sides. However, the study by the Bertelsmann Stiftung does not claim that all daycare centers offer insufficient food. A third of the daycare centers met the recognized standards - but two thirds did not meet them.

According to the Bertelsmann Foundation, more and more children are having lunch in the daycare center, which is why quality standards are urgently required to ensure a healthy, balanced diet. "We need binding quality standards nationwide for daycare catering. This requires a federal kite law, ”said Jörg Dräger, board member of the Bertelsmann Stiftung. Dräger added that "good nutrition is an important prerequisite for the development and education of children" and that daycare plays a central role here. The outrage on the part of the institutions is understandable - especially if they are among those who actually offer good food - in the interests of the children, however, the results of the Bertelsmann Foundation should be taken as an occasion to critically review the food.

Meals evaluated in around 1,100 daycare centers According to the Bertelsmann Stiftung, the current study "for the first time examined the representative quality and cost of lunch in daycare centers." This is the first time that the status quo of daycare in Germany has been comprehensively presented. The Bertelsmann Stiftung surveyed almost 1,100 daycare centers from all of the federal states about their catering options. In addition, with the help of model calculations, the cost of a lunch was determined, which the "quality standard for catering in day care facilities for children" of the German Society for Nutrition e. V. (DGE) corresponds. Overall, the midday meal in most German daycare centers did poorly compared to the scientifically based quality standard of the DGE, reports the foundation.

Too much meat, too little fruit Salad, raw food and fish According to the results of the Bertelsmann Foundation, only twelve percent of daycare centers provided enough fruit for the children and only 19 percent offered salad or raw food sufficiently often. Furthermore, fish was also rarely on the menu. While fruit, salad, raw food and fish were often in short supply in daycare centers, the current study has shown that meat is offered too frequently in three quarters of daycare centers. Here, the caterers are often too little geared towards child-friendly catering, reports the Bertelsmann Stiftung. Lunch is delivered in two of three daycare centers across Germany, but "only every tenth caterer who supplies a daycare center offers lunches specially tailored to the needs of children." In addition, the daycare centers themselves are often not adequately equipped for meals. The daycare center kitchen is often similar to that of a private household and “not even every third daycare center has a dining room,” according to the Bertelsmann Stiftung. Only a third of the daycare centers employ domestic staff.

Quality standards for daycare catering required The Bertelsmann Stiftung sees the lack of uniform national quality standards and the non-binding funding of daycare catering as a major cause of the deficits identified. Since "the financing of household staff, kitchen and room equipment, as well as operating costs and food costs is not binding and standardized in most federal states", the parents' income-independent meal allowance for lunch is significantly different. The range ranged from 75 cents to six euros per meal. On average, the parents would also pay the daycare centers EUR 2.40 for their children's lunch. The quality of the children's lunch depends on the decisions and grants of the respective providers or the municipality, because "a healthy and balanced lunch that meets the DGE standard costs at least four euros," reports the Bertelsmann Stiftung.

Lack of binding funding for daycare catering If every child who eats in their daycare center is to be given a healthy lunch every day, according to the Bertelsmann Foundation, "1.8 billion euros should be spent nationwide annually", which would be 750 million euros more than parents spend today. In addition to the nationwide quality standards, binding financing models for daycare catering are therefore necessary, also because “more than 1.8 million children throughout Germany now stay in their daycare and have meals there.” Jörg Dräger emphasized that “federal, state and local authorities , Providers and parents must inform about the financing of a balanced lunch, so that every child in the daycare can be looked after healthily. "

Opportunity to break the trend towards unhealthy nutrition According to the Bertelsmann Foundation, daycare catering also plays a special role against the background that "current nationwide cross-sectional studies point to fundamentally questionable eating behavior among children and adolescents and the consequences of poor nutrition." An example from the Robert Koch Institute's (RKI) children's and youth survey shows that nine percent of three to six year olds are overweight and just under three percent are even obese. “The majority of all daycare children now eat in their daycare. Politicians should take advantage of this opportunity and ensure healthy growth for all children, ”Dräger continued. With the establishment of quality standards, the daycare centers, which are currently outraged and praise their excellent food, would be able to see whether they actually guarantee healthy, balanced meals for the children. (fp)

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