ERIC Number: ED483241
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Apr
School Meal Programs: Competitive Foods Are Available in Many Schools; Actions Taken To Restrict Them Differ by State and Locality. Report to Congressional Requesters. GAO-04-673
Bellis, David D.
US General Accounting Office
Because of concerns about trends in children's health and eating habits and interest in further understanding issues related to competitive foods in schools, this study addressed: which foods and school food practices fell under the term "competitive foods" and what federal restrictions existed on their sale; what was known about the types of competitive foods and their availability and prevalence in schools; and what was known about additional steps being taken on the state and local levels to curtail the sale of competitive foods. Researchers reviewed legislation, policies, and studies that addressed competitive foods in schools, gathering information on federal and state competitive foods laws and regulations; analyzed data on the availability, prevalence, and types of competitive foods in schools from three national studies: The School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study-II, the School Health Policies and Programs Study of 2000, and the Third Year Report of the School Meals Initiative Implementation Study; reviewed several smaller-scale studies on the association between competitive foods in schools and child nutrition, assessing the adequacy of samples and measures employed, reasonableness and rigor of statistical techniques, and validity of results; and interviewed people in professional organizations, advocacy groups, and other stakeholder groups. Results found that competitive foods included all foods and beverages sold in schools except for meals provided through the School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. Competitive foods were sold in a variety of locations on most school campuses nationwide. Several states, school districts, and individual schools had enacted competitive food policies that were more restrictive than federal regulations. There was a wide variety in types of restrictions applied. An appendix, which comprises the bulk of the document, includes briefing slides.
Descriptors: Child Health, Food, Governance, Eating Habits, School Districts, Nutrition, Free Enterprise System, Competition, Legislation, Public Policy
U.S. Government Accountability Office, 441 G Street NW, Room LM, Washington, DC 20548. Tel: 202-512-6000; TDD: 202-512-2537; Fax: 202-512-6061.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: General Accounting Office, Washington, DC.