ERIC Number: EJ1033480
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Abstractor: As Provided
Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables in Middle School Students Following the Implementation of a School District Wellness Policy
Young, Kathleen D.; Snelling, Anastasia; Maroto, Maya; Young, Katherine A.
Journal of Child Nutrition & Management, v37 n2 Fall 2013
Purpose/Objectives: In 2010, a large urban school district implemented a district-wide school wellness policy that addressed childhood obesity by requiring schools to increase health and physical education contact hours for students and to improve the nutritional standards of school meals. Schools were required to serve a different fruit and vegetable each day of the week. The purpose of this study was to measure consumption patterns of fruits and vegetables of middle school students in an urban middle school located in a high-needs neighborhood. Methods: Consumption of fruits and vegetables was measured through a study of 4-week plate waste collection (n= 3,810) during two semesters of the 2011-2012 school year. Descriptive statistics and paired t-tests with the significance level set at p<0.05 were used to express differences in consumption of fruits and vegetables. Results: During four weeks of observations, students consumed more fruits than vegetables. Specifically, a significantly higher percentage of servings of fruits (70%) was consumed than servings of raw vegetables (57%). Also a significantly higher percentage of fruits (70%) was consumed compared to cooked vegetables (41%). Students consumed significantly more fruits (79%) and cooked vegetables (46%) in the second semester than in the first semester, 60% and 35% respectively. No significant differences were observed between males and females for fruit, raw vegetables, and cooked vegetables. Applications to Child Nutrition Professionals: Although the school wellness policy mandates that schools provide healthy lunches, less than optimal consumption rates indicate that students may not be benefiting from the new nutrient standards. A number of variables may influence the consumption of foods served in school cafeterias. Food service professionals can play a key role in positively introducing and nudging children to consume the healthy foods now being served.
Descriptors: Middle School Students, Nutrition, Food Service, Food Standards, Eating Habits, Wellness, School Districts, Program Implementation, School Policy, Wastes, Observation, Predictor Variables, Attitude Change, Urban Schools, Lunch Programs, Health Promotion, Student Behavior, Health Behavior, Comprehensive School Health Education, Program Effectiveness
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A