SCHOOL HEALTH POLICY: SCHOOL LUNCH CONSUMPTION PATTERNS OF MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS
Degree awarded: M.S. School of Education, Teaching and Health. American University
The Healthy Schools Act (HSA) was passed in May of 2010 with the purpose of encouraging Public Schools and Public Charter Schools of the District of Columbia (DC) to address the issue of childhood obesity in DC. One provision of the HSA is to improve school nutrition by specifically increasing servings of fresh fruits and vegetables in school lunches. The purpose of this study is to measure consumption patterns of fruits and vegetables of middle school students in two middle schools in D.C. following the implementation of the new school lunch standards. An intervention was implemented to determine if serving whole versus cut fruit would significantly influence consumption patterns of the students. Of the 4, 464 lunch trays observed during a two-week period, it was determined that a significantly higher percentage of servings of fruits (66%) were consumed than servings of raw (54%) and cooked (46%) vegetables. Students also consumed a significantly higher percentage of servings of a whole apple (41%) when served with lunch than a sliced apple (29%). Although the HSA mandates that schools provide healthy lunches, low consumption rates indicate that students may not be benefiting from the new nutrient standards. Health disparities, parental and familial eating behaviors, participation in the National School Lunch Program, and behavior economic strategies related to eating habits need to be explored to fully understand and impact eating behaviors in children.
StatsViewed 20 times
Downloaded 3 times