204704 Snapshot: A Photography Study of School Lunch Choice and Consumption

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 11:10 AM

Anna Charlene Martin, PhD , Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Center for Weight and Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
May-Choo Wang, DrPH, RD , Department of Community Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Suzanne M. Rauzon, MPH, RD , Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Center for Weight and Health, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Launa Craig, BS , Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Center for Weight and Health, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Natalie Studer, MPH, RD , Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Center for Weight and Health, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
This study used digital photography to assess fruit and vegetable consumption during school lunch to evaluate the impact of cooking and gardening programs. 117 5th graders participated from 4 elementary schools in a diverse mid-sized city; 2 schools had cooking and gardening classes (intervention), and 2 were comparison schools. All 4 schools had bulk service of main dishes and self-serve salad bars. Photographs were taken before and after children ate. Analysis of photographs examined food available for consumption before children began eating, and food left after they finished. Amounts consumed were calculated using a scoring system that estimated surface areas of foods, and converting them into standard servings based on factors derived from images of foods of known weights.

Results

Children at intervention schools had more vegetables on their plates before eating than those at comparison schools (1,81 cups vs. 0.78 cups, p<.01). The difference in amount of vegetables consumed (0.96 versus 0.75 cups) did not reach statistical significance.

The proportion of vegetables consumed was higher at comparison schools; students at comparison schools ate over 90% of vegetables on their plates, while students at intervention schools ate about 70% of vegetables (p<.001).

There was no significant difference found in fruit consumption. The average amount on the plates before eating was virtually identical at 0.8 cups, and students ate nearly all fruit available to them.

Students eating school lunch consumed 3 times more vegetables than children bringing lunch from home (1.36 versus 0.42 cups, p<.0001).

Learning Objectives:
By the end of this presentation, participants will: 1)Discuss the use of digital photography to assess food choices and consumption behavior during school lunch. 2)Describe the social and environmental factors are associated with the selection and consumption of fruits and vegetables during school lunch.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I served as Principal Investigator for this study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.