Submitted to: Journal Of The American Dietetic Association
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2000
Publication Date: 12/1/2000
Citation: Cullen, K., Eagan, J., Baranowski, T., Owens, E., De Moor, C. 2000. Effect of a la carte and snack bar foods at school on children's lunchtime intake of fruits and vegetables. Journal Of The American Dietetic Association. 100(12):1482-1486. Interpretive Summary: This study looked at the influence of middle school snack bars on children's consumption of fruit and vegetables. Students completed FJV preferences questionnaires and 5 days of lunch food records in classrooms. Fourth grade students (n=312) consumed significantly more FJV (.80 serving) than 5th grade students (n=282) (.60 serving). Students whose parents reported a high school or less education consumed more regular and total vegetables compared with students whose parents reported college or higher education. Fifth grade students only eating snack bar meals consumed significantly less total FJV (.40 serving) than 5th grade students who ate school lunch meals (.82 serving). School lunch FJV consumption is low. School food service staff should identify FJV that middle school students prefer and increase availability of those items in middle school cafeterias and snack bars.
Technical Abstract: The objective of this study was to compare lunch fruit, juice, and vegetable (FJV) intake of fourth-grade students who receive only National School Lunch Program meals and fifth-grade students who also have access to a school snack bar and to compare FJV intake by meal source among fifth-grade students. The design is a cross-sectional study: students completed FJV preference questionnaires and 5 days of lunch food records in classrooms. The subjects who are participating in this study are: 312 fourth- and 282 fifth-grade students from south Texas schools, and the main outcome measures their mean FJV consumption. Descriptive statistics, correlation analyses, analysis of variance, and analysis of covariance were performed. Fourth-grade students (n = 312) consumed significantly more fruits, juices, and vegetables (0.80 serving) than fifth-grade students (n = 282) (0.60 serving). Students whose parents reported a high school education or less consumed more regular and total vegetables than students whose parents reported some college or higher education. There were no interaction effects among gender, grade, ethnic, or family education groups. Fifth-grade students who ate only snack bar meals consumed significantly less total fruits, juices, and vegetables (0.40 serving) than fifth-grade students who ate school lunch meals (0.82 serving). Controlling for FJV preferences did not change the main effect for grade level in the FJV consumption models. FJV consumption during school lunch is low. School foodservice staff should identify FJV items that middle school students prefer and increase availability of those items in middle school cafeterias and snack bars.