266699 Competitive Foods in Schools: Recognizing adverse impacts on student participation and nutrition program finances

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 1:30 PM - 1:50 PM

Paula Jones, PhD , Food System Program, San Francisco Deparment of Public Health, San Francisco, CA
Rajiv Bhatia, MD, MPH , Occupational and Environmental Health, San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco, CA
Introduction: Federal and state action on competitive foods in the school food environment has primarily focused on regulating either the nutritional content of foods or the format in which the foods are served. Competitive foods can have significant negative impacts on participation in the National School Lunch Program. In addition, compelling research has demonstrated that competitive foods can have negative fiscal impacts on school food programs as well. During the 2010-2011 school year, the San Francisco Unified School District eliminated competitive, a la carte meals following a successful pilot in 2009-2010. We evaluated the impact of this intervention on program participation and program finance.

Methods: We quantitatively evaluate changes in student NSLP participation by subsidy status (free/reduced/paid) before and after the intervention. We also quantitatively evaluate changes in program operating costs and revenues before and after the intervention.

Results: Preliminary results suggest that elimination of competitive food in San Francisco increased participation in the all meal categories and improved program finances.

Discussion: In addition their effects on nutritional quality of meals, competitive foods may have substantial impacts on school nutrition finances as well as student NSLP program participation. These effects should be accounted for in policy development and program evaluation.

Learning Area: Evaluation of the full impacts of competitive foods in the school food environment

Learning Areas:
Program planning
Public health or related public policy
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
1. Demonstrate potential effects of competitive food programs on NSLP participation and school meal program finances; 2. Explain new methods and metrics to evaluate changes in school food programs; and 3. Evaluate participation and finance as key determinants of school nutrition program success that should be considered in policy development and program evaluation.

Keywords: School-Based Programs, Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the project director responsible for the research.
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.