Children's food intakes do not meet dietary recommendations. Meals offered through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program make substantial contributions to school-aged children's diets.
This article describes foods offered in school meals and consumed by children at lunch and breakfast, and differences in foods consumed by children who did and did not participate in the school meal programs.
Data were collected as part of the third School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study, a cross-sectional, nationally representative study conducted in 2005. School menu surveys were used to identify the foods offered in school meals, and 24-hour dietary recalls were used to assess the foods children consumed.
Foodservice managers in 398 public schools and 2,314 children (grades 1 to 12) from 287 of these schools participated in the study.
Descriptive tabulations report percentages of daily menus that offered and percentages of children that consumed specific food groups and foods at lunch and breakfast. Two-tailed t tests were used to assess differences between school meal program participants and nonparticipants.
Most school menus offered nonfat or 1% milk, fruit or 100% juice, and vegetables daily. Starchy vegetables were more common than dark green/orange vegetables or legumes. School lunch participants were significantly more likely than nonparticipants to consume milk, fruit, and vegetables, and significantly less likely to consume desserts, snack items, and beverages other than milk or 100% juice. At breakfast, participants were significantly more likely than nonparticipants to consume milk and fruit (mainly 100% juice), and significantly less likely to consume beverages other than milk or 100% juice.
Consumption of school meals is positively related to children's intakes of key food groups at lunch and breakfast. Offering more fresh fruit, whole grains, and a greater variety of vegetables could lead to additional health benefits.
"Incomplete questionnaires were omitted from the study and the results were compiled for only 28 complete questionnaires. Breakfast provided to the respondents has the following composition in order to gain maximum benefits in terms of effectiveness of cognitive ability as this is the healthy recommended levels of nutrients in breakfast (Condon, et al., 2009). "
"Knowledge and skill training are needed to improve food consumption patterns. Furthermore, promoting healthy eating habits and increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed by children is not an objective in itself; studies have demonstrated that breakfast and lunch programmes in schools lead to secondary health benefits as a result of higher fruit and vegetable consumption [40,51]. Factors that may motivate young people to consume more fruits and vegetables include a change in the environment by, for example, increasing the availability of fruits and vegetables at home and promoting parental consumption , providing fruits and vegetables in schools  and implementing a schoolyard garden with appropriate educational activities . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There are very few studies on the frequency of breakfast and snack consumption and its relation to fruit and vegetable intake. This study aims to fill that gap by exploring the relation between irregular breakfast habits and snack consumption and fruit and vegetable intake in Tuscan adolescents. Separate analyses were conducted with an emphasis on the potentially modifying factors of sex and age.
Data was obtained from the 2010 Tuscan sample of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study. The HBSC study is a cross-sectional survey of 11-, 13- and 15-year-old students (n = 3291), selected from a random sample of schools. Multivariate logistic regression was used for analyzing the food-frequency questionnaire.
A significant relation was found between low fruit and vegetable intake and irregular breakfast habits. Similarly, low fruit intake was associated with irregular snack consumption, whereas vegetable intake did not prove to be directly related to irregular snack consumption. Different patterns emerged when gender and age were considered as modifying factors in the analyses. A statistically significant relation emerged only among female students for irregular breakfast habits and fruit and vegetable intake. Generally, older female participants with irregular breakfast habits demonstrated a higher risk of low fruit and vegetable intake. Age pattern varied between genders, and between fruit and vegetable consumption.
Results suggest that for those adolescents who have an irregular consumption of breakfast and snacks, fruit intake occurs with a lower frequency. Lower vegetable consumption was associated with irregular breakfast consumption. Gender and age were shown to be moderators and this indicated the importance of analyzing fruit and vegetable intake and meal types separately.This study also confirmed that health-promotion campaigns that aim to promote regular meal consumption and consumption of fruits and vegetables need to take into account gender and age differences in designing promotional strategies. Future research should identify evidence-based interventions to facilitate the achievement of the Italian guidelines for a healthy diet for fruit, vegetables and meals intake.
"To date, many studies have examined the effects of the NSLP and SBP on children's food and nutrient intake and health outcomes with mixed results. Available research on the consumption of particular foods and beverages finds that NSLP participants consume more fruits, vegetables, and milk, and fewer desserts, snacks, and beverages other than milk and 100% fruit juice at lunch compared to nonparticipants (Gordon et al. 2007a; Condon et al. 2009; Gleason and Suitor, 2003). However, these studies did not adjust for the potential endogeneity of school meal program participation. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: School environment and policies may affect childrens ability to make healthy food choices both at and away from school. Using data from the third School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study conducted in 2005 we estimate the effect of environment and policies on childrens fruit and vegetable intakes. We use an instrumental variable approach to control for the endogeneity of participation in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). On an average school day, school lunch participants consume more fruits and vegetables, including relatively more at school and less away from school compared to nonparticipants. Meal policies had little effect on NSLP participation itself. Policies that restrict high fat milks or desserts and restrict the sale of competitive foods are associated with greater fruit and/or vegetable intake at school; some policies affected consumption at home as well.
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