267386 State of the States: The High School Competitive Food Environment

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 10:45 AM - 11:00 AM

Maureen Spill, PhD , The Pew Health Group/ Kids' Safe and Healthful Foods Project, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Washington, DC
In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data detailing what snack foods and beverages are being sold in secondary schools across the United States. This report evaluates those CDC data and explores the current state of the school nutrition environment and opportunities for additional progress. As part of the CDC's biennial School Health Profiles, high school principals and lead health education teachers completed surveys regarding aspects of the school health environment. Results were reported as the percentage of schools within a state that have a particular healthy practice in place, along with the median and range across all states. States were ranked based on the availability of different types of snack foods in schools, and data from the past several years was explored. Overall, data demonstrates that from 2002 to 2008, states made significant progress at improving school snack food environments; however, progress has since plateaued. Currently, a substantial number of schools in over 40 states regularly offer high-calorie, low-nutrient snack foods to students, while access to fruits and vegetables is minimal. Although many schools have made efforts to improve their snack food environment, more work is needed to create a healthy snack food environment for all students across the country.

This data supports the need for a federal policy to improve nutrition standards of school snack foods and beverages .

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

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the current snack food environment for secondary schools on a state-level. 2. Identify opportunities to improve school snack food environments. 3. Demonstrate support for federal nutrition standards for school-sold snack foods and beverages.

Keywords: Child Health, Food and Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a researcher in the field of children's nutrition and a senior associate for the Kids' Safe and Healthful Foods project, a joint initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Prior to this position I completed my doctoral research at Penn State University on strategies to improve children's eating behavior by increasing their vegetable intake and decreasing energy intake.
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.