Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition, Obesity
Objectives : To determine if student school meal item purchases at two groups of schools are equivalent at the beginning of a study designed to promote healthy fruit and vegetable attitudes and eating behaviors.
Methods : Pairs of rural Indiana elementary schools were recruited from each of 5 strata, created based on geographic locale and school size, and were assigned to control (CON) or intervention (INT) group in a cluster RCT in Fall 2018. Food service managers provided food production records that itemized quantities of student fruit and vegetable purchases for 19 days. Fruit, total vegetables, and vegetable subgroups purchases were compared after log transformation using hierarchical linear modeling (level 1=meal day, level 2=schools, α= 0.05) with SAS ver9.4.
Results : For breakfast, negligible amounts of vegetables were served and mean purchases of fruits were not different with 0.77±0.30 cup/student/meal at INT schools and 0.62±0.20 cup/student/meal at CON schools (P=0.400). At lunch, fruit consumption was also not different with mean fruit at 0.49±0.10 cup/student/meal at INT schools and 0.48± 0.16 cup/student/meal at INT schools. (P=0.722). Total vegetables were different with 0.67±0.25 and 0.37±0.19 cup/student/meal, for INT and CON, respectively (P=0.001). Vegetable subgroups were not different for dark green (0.12±0.22, 0.07±0.08 cup/student/meal, for INT and CON respectively, P=0.540), red/orange (INT=0.12±0.23 and CON=0.08±0.09 cup/student/meal, P=0.688) legumes (INT=0.07±0.19 and CON=0.02±0.06 cup/student/meal, P=0.056), and “others” (INT=0.09±0.19 and CON=0.08±0.11 cup/student/meal, P=0.336), but were different for the starchy subgroup (INT=0.26±0.29 and CON=0.11 ±0.18 cups/student/meal, P=0.025).
Conclusions : Overall, at baseline, students did not purchase different amounts of fruits at breakfast or lunch, or vegetables at lunch, except in the case of the starchy subgroup at lunch, which were higher at the intervention schools. This increase in the starchy subgroup then significantly contributed to an increased total vegetables/student/lunch meal purchased at intervention schools.
Funding Sources : Supported by USDA TEAM Nutrition
Indiana Department of Education