Children, a susceptible population
Through its integrated approach to risk assessment, ANSES takes into account the exposures of various population groups in a cross-cutting and all-encompassing way which enables it to assess risks so as to reflect as closely as possible the realities of everyday life. Studies must be conducted on the exposure and risks specific to children, a group which is especially vulnerable to substances found in the environment, food and consumer goods. Chemicals found it toys and in foods, the nutritional make-up of foods for children, etc. are all topics on which the experts have concentrated their efforts. Find out about the work conducted by the Agency and see its recommendations for protecting this susceptible population.
The relationship between diet and socio-economic status has rarely been examined in children and adolescents in France. The expert assessment conducted by ANSES on this topic shows that the diet of underprivileged children and adolescents is of a lower quality. However, the parents' education level appears to be a more significant determining factor in diet quality than income criteria.
Following on from the Second Total Diet Study (TDS 2), a national surveillance study of dietary exposure to chemicals, in 2010 ANSES launched the Infant TDS. With this study, the dietary exposure of children under 3 years old was assessed. It confirms the high level of health control demonstrated by the preceding TDSs, but also points out a number of substances requiring special monitoring.
Both good and bad eating habits are acquired from the earliest years and have a lasting effect on health. From nursery school to high school, an average of two pupils out of three, or more than 7 million children, eat school meals in France at least once a week. Improving the menus of school meals in terms of both nutritional quality and safety is therefore a priority for public health. The Agency is acutely aware of the importance of this public health issue and has undertaken several series of studies to assess school meals attendance and the nutritional quality of the meals served.
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