Project: Incorporating Nutritional and Economic Factors Into Planning School Lunch
Award Year: 2007
Amount of award, fiscal 2007: $213,365.00
Institution: Iowa State University
Principal Investigator: Helen Jensen
Status: Completed
Detailed Objective: Planners of school meals can only control what is offered and served, not what is consumed. Individuals in a group, even if offered exactly the same meal, will eat different amounts and even different types of foods. Some will eat more than is offered, either by eating some of their friends' foods or by supplementing it with food from other sources. Others will eat less than what is offered, either by giving some of the food away or by throwing it away. Most school lunches offer a variety of entrees and milk choices. In addition, school meals supply only part of children's usual daily intake, as children consume other foods outside of school. However, what children consume outside of the program may depend on how they perceive the school lunches. The goal of this project is to better understand how changes in what is offered through school meals may affect students' total intake. Data from the third School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study (SNDA-III), conducted between January-June 2005, will be used to model the relationship between foods and nutrients offered in school lunches and what participants consume at lunch as well as over 24 hours. SNDA-III collected detailed data on foods offered to and selected by students in school meals, on the school food environment, and on student's 24-hour dietary intake. These data allow the model to consider not only the foods that were offered as part of the meal that day but also other school environment and food policy variables (such as the availability of competing foods and vending machines) as well as child-specific variables (such as age and gender).
Topic: Child Nutrition, Dietary Intake and Quality, School Lunch and Breakfast
Ishdorj, A., M. Crepinsek and H. Jensen. "Children’s Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables: Do School Environment and Policies Affect Choice At School and Away from School?," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Vol. 35, Issue 2, June 2013.