Natalia Alaniz Salinas, MPH, MSc, PhD student (Department of Community Health and Epidemiology - USASK), Research Manager at Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit (SPHERU)

Community Health and Epidemiology
University of Saskatchewan

Nutritional Implications of Universal School Food Programs: Research Methods and Preliminary Findings

International evidence suggests Universal School Food Programs (SFPs) can be cost-effective while promoting student health and health equity. This presentation will highlight the nutritional and financial assessment of students’ lunches in the Good Food for Learning pilot program. School lunches were studied across socio-demographic characteristics using a baseline and endpoint plate waste audit tool. Participants will also learn about the ongoing costing procedure to track and evaluate the program's financial sustainability. Through this presentation, we will get to know these tools, including the benefits and complexities of using plate waste and costing tools in a community context, and their potential to inform policy decisions related to SFPs in Canada.

Speaker/Chair Bio:

Natalia Alaniz Salinas is a doctoral student in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology in the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. Additionally, she serves as a research manager at the Saskatchewan Population Health Evaluation Research Unit (SPHERU). Natalia's expertise lies in public health nutrition, health promotion, and school food. Before pursuing her doctoral studies, Natalia worked for several years at a regional division of the Ministry of Health in Chile. She holds a Master of Public Health from the Universidad Catolica del Norte in Chile. Following her move to Canada, she earned a Master's degree in Community and Population Health Sciences. Natalia's current research focuses on population health intervention and school food programs and policies. Specifically, she is studying the impacts of implementing a universal, curriculum-integrated school lunch program on nutrient intake, food group intake, and overall nutrient density.