Students in the 2nd grade of Elementary Education increased their preference by 7.4% for legumes and 3.2% for fish, when compared to last year, according to the results obtained by the impact measurement study, by the Missão Continente School programme, carried out by CEIDSS.

With regard to the supply of food and drinks within the school premises, it was found that the most available foods and drinks were plain milk and/or yogurt (82.5%), fresh fruit (67.5%) and water (65%). However, some of the schools under study offer sweetened fruit juices (15%) and hot sugary drinks (12.5%). In the analysed schools, the food supply favours the provision of healthy foods, in accordance with the guidelines of the Directorate-General for Education (24%). However, some foods that are not allowed in school environments are still present in Portuguese schools, namely chips and other savoury snacks (2.5%) and chocolates, pastries and other sweets and ice cream (2.5%).

Missão Continente School is evaluating the impact on 40 classes of the 1st grade of Elementary Education, from 35 schools, in the 20 districts of the country, for 4 consecutive years (2021-2025), becoming one of the studies integrated into a nutrition and community health programme, with greater dispersion, in Portugal.

This study aims to continue to evaluate the effects of the programme on children’s lifestyles and analyse the progress of childhood obesity. The general theme covered in this study is ‘Mediterranean Diet - a healthy, sustainable and conscious option’, where each year a specific programme is applied with integrated content, adjusted to the ages of children in each year of schooling.

In the 3rd year, a new assessment of the nutritional status and food consumption of the children participating in this study will be made. The study has been continually well received not only by the students - with an increase in participants in the initiative being recorded - but also by the teachers who registered an overall average evaluation of 4.63 points (out of 5) of the Missão Continente School programme and the activities carried out in the classroom.

This academic year, which marks Missão Continente School’s  8th edition, the impact assessment study will continuously cover 750 children from 35 schools nationwide, in continuous work with 40 teachers/classes, under the theme ‘food of the Mediterranean Diet Wheel’.

Missão Continente School, created in 2016, raises awareness among students in the 1st grade of Elementary Education about healthy eating, conscious consumption and an active lifestyle. Since the 2021-2022 school year, it has started to cover Pre-School and 2nd grade of Elementary Education students. To date, the programme has engaged more than 100,000 children. In each edition, participants have access to content, educational activities, challenges (with associated prizes), recreational-pedagogical materials and field visits.

Schools interested in participating in the project can register until October 20th, on the Missão Continente website at missao.continente.pt/escola.

Missão Continente School is a programme that is highly valued by MC because we are committed to having a positive and profound impact on the lives and future of these children and their families. As a brand, we have promoted a healthier and more sustainable diet, with the nutritional improvement of products and customer awareness, but these children and young people will have a surprising impact when it is their turn to decide what to buy, to influence their family and the their social circle with the choices they will make”, explains Nádia Reis, Director of Communication and Social Responsibility at Continente.

Missão Continente School has as institutional partners the General Directorate of Health, the CEIDSS – Centre for Studies and Research in Social Dynamics and Health, the São João’s University Hospital Centre (CHUSJ), the Abel Salazar’s Institute of Biomedical Sciences of the University of Porto and the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) as well as institutional support from the Directorate-General for Education.

Video summary of Missão Continente School’s 2022/23 edition.


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