This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of adherence to school meals and associated factors among adolescent schoolchildren (N = 1,569). The adolescents completed an on-line questionnaire on adherence to school meals, and their parents answered another questionnaire on socioeconomic data. The chi-square test was used to assess the association between adherence to school meals and gender, nutritional status, per capita family income, maternal schooling, adolescents’ opinions on the dining hall layout, whether they considered school meals healthy, and consumption of other foods. Variables with statistical significance for adherence to school meals were included in the multilevel proportional odds logistic regression model. The covariates for comprising the final model were defined by backward selection methods. The results of the adjusted model were presented as odds ratios with respective 95% confidence intervals (95%CI). Prevalence of adherence to school meals was low, especially effective adherence (19.8%). Adherence was associated with per capita family income less than one minimum wage, lower consumption of foods outside of school meals, the fact that adolescents considered the dining hall space adequate, and believing that school meals are healthy. Adherence to school meals in this study falls short of universal coverage for the program. Different factors contribute to incomplete program implementation, which may hinder achieving the food and nutritional security policy under the Brazilian National School Feeding Program (PNAE).
Public Policies; School Feeding; Adolescent