Does selection of foods in the school cafeteria by 6-8 year olds translate into consumption? Results of a cafeteria observation study
Methods: In 2013, 386 students participated in the cafeteria observation portion of an evaluation study to measure the impact of Food Bank of New York City’s CookShop Program on changing nutrition knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. The CookShop program targets increased consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lowfat milk and legumes. Data was collected in the school cafeterias using iPAD digital photography. Pictures were taken of trays before and after meals. The before and after photos were analyzed for selection and consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole-grain, low fat milk, legumes and protein entrée. Influence of school environmental and family factors will be explored.
Results: The lunch trays of 386 students were observed. Preliminary analysis show mean (SD) age of students was 7.2(11.0) years with 39.5% black and 41.9% Hispanic. During the cafeteria observation student selected each targeted food: 91.7% lean protein, 76.2% whole grains, 72.5% low-fat milk, 72.3% fruit and 65.0% vegetables. Consumption of targeted foods by those who selected them was lower; 65.4% ate lean protein, 44.3% drank low-fat milk, 44.0% ate fruit, 37.8% ate whole grains and 26.9% ate vegetables. While 65.4% of students selected 4-5 food groups, only 15.3% of students consumed 4-5 food groups.
Discussion: Although healthy foods are often selected by young school-aged children in the cafeteria they are often not consumed. Exploration of new strategies to improve consumption is recommended.
Learning Areas:Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research
Differentiate between school cafeteria selection of foods and consumption of those foods by 6-8 year old students. Describe factors associated selection and consumption of school cafeteria foods.
Keyword(s): Nutrition, School-Based Health
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: The nutritional concerns of women, infants, and children and developing effective methods to address these concerns are the focus of my scholarly work for the past 20 years. My research interests include young child nutrition and risk for obesity, factors influencing food consumption among school-aged children especially those from low-income families. I am a co-investigator on this study and I have been in every aspect of this study including study design, data collection and analysis.
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.