204933 Impact of competitive food standards on school food environments: The HEAC school experience 2005 to 2008

Monday, November 9, 2009: 9:10 AM

Lisa Craypo, MPH, RD , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Sarah Samuels, DrPH , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Sarah E. Clark , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Krista Stiffler, MPH , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Jason Barry, MA , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Background: Children, particularly in low-income communities, are regularly subjected to environments that discourage healthy eating and contribute to childhood overweight. In schools, competitive foods those sold outside the school meal program are widely available to students and tend to be high in calories, fat and sugar. In California, state legislation was passed setting nutrient standards for competitive foods in order to improve the nutritional quality of the foods and beverages sold outside of the school meal program and to positively impact students' health. The Healthy Eating, Active Communities program (HEAC), funded by The California Endowment, supports school districts in six low-income communities throughout California to improve school food environments.

Methods: The HEAC schools were assessed at baseline in 2005 and midpoint in 2008. Assessments included an inventory of all competitive food and beverage items sold. Nutrient profiles were developed for all foods and beverages inventoried, and adherence to the CA state legislation was determined.

Results: Adherence to the state competitive food standards improved amongst almost all HEAC schools at all grade levels from 2005 to 2008. However, this study found that although adherence improved, the competitive foods sold continued to provide students with additional calories but very few nutrients.

Discussion: This session will describe the extent to which implementation of the state-mandated school nutrition policy improved the healthfulness of competitive foods sold to students at the HEAC schools. Data presented will form the basis of recommendations for strengthening competitive food standards to truly create healthful food environments for students.

Learning Objectives:
Describe how adherence to competitive food standards increased from 2005 to 2008. Identify foods that adhere to competitive food standards but do not provide children any nutritional benefit. List two suggestions for strengthening food standards to further improve the school food environment.

Keywords: Nutrition, Children

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been involved in numerous research projects over the past 13 years examining the school food environment.
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.