225117 Equity in the National School Meals Programs: An Analysis of SNDA-III

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 10:30 AM - 10:45 AM

Mark A. Swanson, PhD , College of Public Health, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Richard J. Charnigo, PhD , College of Public Health, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Through its subsidized meals of low income students, a primary purpose of the National School Breakfast and School Lunch programs is to ensure that all students, regardless of income, have access to nutritious meals at school. In FY2007, more than 30.5 million children participated in the school lunch program and 10.6 million participated in the school breakfast program every day. This paper reports on the success in accomplishing that goal by comparing the content of meals at a national sample of schools. The School Nutrition Dietary Assessment III (SNDA-III) is an in-depth examination of the school meals program across the country, the only nationally representative study designed to collect information about the dietary intakes of school-age children on school days. This analysis of SNDA-III data examines the influence of the income status of the school, measured as the level of participation in the reimbursable meals program, on the quality of breakfasts and lunches served and eaten. We examine the number of items served, the types of items served, and the types of items consumed by students. We also explore a number of potential intervening variables, including training, education, and experience of food service staff. Findings from this research can inform policy as Congress debates the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act and other federal nutrition legislation.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the relationship of the proportion of free and reduced meal status and the pattern of foods offered in the federal school meals programs. Identify school meal components that are associated with varying student household income levels. Discuss the policy implications of these findings for federal child nutrition programs.

Keywords: Nutrition, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am assistant professor of health behavior at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health. I study both school meal programs and federal food policy.
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.