Online Program

Comparison of USDA foods offered and delivered in the national school lunch program

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 9:30 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.

Sujata Dixit-Joshi, PhD, MPH, Health Studies, Westat, Rockville, MD
Thea Palmer Zimmerman, M.S., R.D., Westat, Rockville, MD
Elaine Eaker, Sc.D., Westat, Rockville, MD
Background: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) purchases agricultural commodities and makes these available to public, private, non-profit schools, and residential child care institutions that participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). State agencies select entitlement foods for their schools from a list of food products specified in the USDA Foods Available list and may also receive bonus foods if available through the USDA's price support and surplus removal program. USDA foods are not intended to constitute 100% of the school meals and usually represent about 15-20% of foods served in school meals. Methods: The entitlement and bonus food group content of the USDA foods as offered and as delivered through NSLP in 2009 was analyzed to determine My Pyramid food group equivalents. Food group values per participant were compared with the 2010 USDA Food Pattern recommendations and the Healthy Eating Index (HEI-2005) scores. Results: The HEI-2005 scores for food packages as offered and delivered are approximately 15 points above those achieved by American children as well as average children in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Compared with the as offered food package, the as delivered food package included more meats, vegetables, and fruits and less grains. Discussion: The high HEI-2005 scores and the food group profile on the basis of 2,000 calories indicate that USDA food packages make a significant contribution to the nutrient quality of foods served in NSLP. The food packages are in line with the IOM recommendations for servings of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Program planning
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Analyze the HEI-2005 scores and food group profile of USDA foods as offered and delivered through the NSLP. Compare the food group profile on the basis of 2,000 calories for the as offered and as delivered food packages.

Keyword(s): Food and Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the project director on this task.
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.