Location: Children's Nutrition Research CenterTitle: The texas public school nutrition policy positively impacts middle school student dietary intakes Author
Submitted to: Annals of Behavioral Medicine
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2006
Publication Date: 3/1/2007
Citation: Cullen, K., Watson, K., Ralston, K., Zakeri, I. 2007. The texas public school nutrition policy positively impacts middle school student dietary intakes [abstract]. Annals of Behavioral Medicine. P. S016. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: School food environments are rapidly undergoing change due to state and local policy initiatives. This study assessed the impact of the 2004 Texas Public School Nutrition Policy that introduced nutrition standards to promote a healthier school food environment in Texas schools. Two years of lunch food records were collected from students in three Houston area middle schools, with about 2800 6th to 8th grade students. The anonymous lunch food records identified amount and source of food/beverage consumed. Those from the first year (n=2205) reflected the usual school food environment (2001-02); the second year records (2005-06) reflected the environment after the policy change (n=10240 records). A series of one-factor (school year) analyses of variance were conducted to investigate differences in total lunch consumption after the policy change. In general, students consumed significantly more milk (2.4 to 6.5 ounces), low fat vegetables (0.29 to 0.89 serving), fiber (3.7 to 5.1 grams), vitamin A (151 to 220 RE), vitamin C (14 to 17 mg), and calcium (292 to 454 mg), and lower amounts of sweetened beverages (5.4 to 1.5 ounces) and chips (0.21 to 0.04 serving) after the policy change compared to baseline (p<0.0025 for all). These differences remained after controlling for energy intake. Overall, the percentages of nutrients, low fat vegetables, and milk from the National School Lunch Program meal were higher after the policy change than at baseline (at least 90%). The percentages of sweetened beverages, candy, desserts, and chips from vending sales were significantly reduced, but snack bar purchases of sweetened beverages and desserts increased, as did the percentage of sweetened beverages, chips, and desserts brought from home. These results document that school food policy changes can improve student consumption during school lunch periods. Whether these improved lunch intakes influence total day dietary consumption is unknown.