Project: Evaluation of State Food Policy Changes as Incentives To Foster Improved Middle School Lunch Selection and Consumption
Award Year: 2005
Amount of award, fiscal 2005: $149,085.00
Institution: Baylor College of Medicine
Principal Investigator: Karen Cullen
Status: Completed
Detailed Objective: Elementary school meals provide an important source of milk, fruit, and vegetables for students. Middle school students with access to snack bar foods reported lower milk, fruit, and vegetable consumption and greater sweetened beverage consumption in previous research. In 2002, a school district in Texas eliminated chips, candy, and sweetened beverages from school snack bars but not from vending machines. Previous research showed that, after the districtwide change, significant changes were observed for consumption of several nutrients and food groups but that students appeared to be compensating for limits at the snack bar by consuming more of some items from vending machines. In 2004, a change in the Texas State school food policy limited sizes of packaged snacks and desserts and sweetened beverages in snack bars and vending machines and required reduced-fat milk to be served in all school food environments.

This project will follow up on previous research by returning to the same three Houston-area middle schools studied earlier. The new round of data collection and analysis will measure changes in nutrient and food group consumption from four sources (National School Lunch Program, a la carte items, vending machines, and food from home) after the State-level changes. The study will compare estimates from 2005-06 with estimates from the base year (2001-02) and from 2002-03 after the 2002 districtwide changes that affected snack bars but not vending machines.

Topic: Dietary Intake and Quality, Program Operations, School Lunch and Breakfast
Cullen, K., and D. Thompson. "Texas School Food Policy Changes Related to Middle School a la Carte/Snack Bar Foods: Potential Savings in Kilocalories," Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Vol. 105, No. 12, December 2005.
Cullen, K., K. Watson, and I. Zakeri. “Improvements in Middle School Student Dietary Intake After Implementation of the Texas Public School Nutrition Policy,” American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 98, No. 1, January 2008.