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ERIC Number: EJ1102986
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1559-5676
Fruit and Vegetable Plate Waste among Students in a Suburban School District Participating in the National School Lunch Program
Handforth, Kellyn M.; Gilboy, Mary Beth; Harris, Jeffrey; Melia, Nicole
Journal of Child Nutrition & Management, v40 n1 Spr 2016
Purpose/Objectives: The purpose of this project was to assess fruit and vegetable plate waste, examine patterns of selection and consumption of specific fruit and vegetable subgroups, and analyze for differences across gender, grade level, and school. Methods: A previously-validated digital photography method was used to collect plate waste data from 693 trays at two elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school in a suburban school district. Post-consumption photographs were compared to photographs of pre-portioned standard servings. Fruit and vegetable consumption was estimated to the nearest 10%. Differences in consumption across grade level, gender, and school were ascertained using the Kruskal-Wallis Test with post hoc Mann-Whitney U Tests. Results: The rate of consumption differed across grade levels. Elementary and middle school students consumed significantly less of the selected whole fruits compared to high school students (p = 0.014). High school students consumed significantly more of the selected cut up fresh fruit compared to elementary school students (p = 0.001). This study shows that some categories were readily selected and consumed, and a few were highly wasted. Cut fresh fruits, canned fruits, and fruit juices were highly selected and consumed. Potato products were moderately selected and highly consumed. Whole fruits and raw vegetables were highly selected, but often wasted. Cooked vegetables and dried fruits had low rates of both selection and consumption. Applications for Child Nutrition Professionals: Whole fruits should be replaced with cut fresh fruits at elementary and middle schools. Greater variety of fruits and vegetables should be introduced to improve selection and consumption. School nutrition professionals should reduce or remove highly processed potato products because they may compete with selection and consumption of healthier vegetable options. Further research is needed to identify student preferences for healthy vegetables. Taste-testing, school gardens, and other educational initiatives may increase consumption, and reduce overall waste.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A