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ERIC Number: EJ1046464
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1559-5676
Cafeteria Staff Perceptions of the New USDA School Meal Standards
Alcaraz, Brenda; Cullen, Karen Weber
Journal of Child Nutrition & Management, v38 n2 Fall 2014
Purpose/Objectives: The new nutrition standards for the school meal programs implemented in 2012 align the school meal patterns with the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans, including more fruit, vegetable and whole grain offerings and minimum and maximum amount of calories per meal averaged over a week. The purpose of this study was to assess cafeteria staff perceptions about the new school food standards. Methods: Cafeteria staff (N = 72) in 12 schools, 8 elementary (EL) and 4 intermediate (INT), from a school district in the Houston, TX area were surveyed. The school district had 37,000 students [59% White, 26% eligible for free/reduced price meals (FRP)]. Half of the EL and INT schools were low income schools based on eligibility for FRP meals (49-79% EL; ~34% INT). Frequencies were calculated for all variables by grade level (EL and INT). Chi square analysis was conducted to assess whether responses differed by grade level. Results: The survey had a response rate of 100% (N = 72) with different sample sizes per question. More EL staff than INT staff (71% vs 40%; p< 0.01) agreed that children like the vegetables served for school lunch and that they encouraged students to eat more fruits and vegetables (95% vs 77%; p< 0.05). Significantly more EL school food service staff (64% vs 43%; p< 0.01) reported that the reason "students know exactly what they want" was a barrier for food recommendations, and this was also the barrier that most INT staff chose. Applications to Child Nutrition Professionals: A combination of interventions, such as offering healthy food options, providing nutrition education, marketing healthy choices, verbally encouraging students to eat fruits and vegetables, and facilitating opportunities for students to try new healthy foods may be more effective in influencing student dietary patterns than any single intervention.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Intermediate Grades
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (DHHS); Agricultural Research Service (USDA)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas
Grant or Contract Numbers: R01HD068349; 6250-51000-053