Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition
In the United States (US), 30 million children participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) each day. In 2012, there were several changes in the NSLP dietary standards, such as increasing fruits and vegetables, fat-free and low-fat milk only, zero grams of trans fat per serving, and limit on saturated fat. However, it is unknown if those changes in the NSLP have led to improvements in preventing overweight/obesity. Therefore, the objective of this analysis was to evaluate the association between frequency of participation in NSLP and overweight/obesity among children in the US.
Methods : We analyzed NHANES 2013-2014 data. We used BMI percentiles, which was categorized as underweight (BMI < 5th percentile), healthy weight (BMI 5th to < 85th percentile), overweight (BMI 85th to < 95th percentile), and obese (BMI ≥95th percentile). We also used responses to participation frequency in NSLP. Logistic regression was used to analyze this association.
After removing underweight children, 2,962 children (aged 4-19) were included in the analysis. A total of 62.4% of children had healthy weight, 17.7% were overweight, and 19.9% were obese. Only 17.6% of children were not participating in the NSLP, 14% participated 1-3 times per week and 68.4% participated 4-5 times per week. Compared to children participating in the NSLP 4-5 times per week, those not participating in the NSLP had a similar risk of overweight/obesity (OR 0.872; 95% CI: 0.697, 1.090) and those participating in the NSLP 1-3 times per week also had a similar risk of overweight/obesity (OR 1.023; 95% CI: 0.803, 1.302). The results are similar if stratifying by school level (elementary or middle/high school).
Participation in the NSLP is not associated with overweight/obesity in NHANES 2013-2014. Future longitudinal studies are needed to confirm these results.
Funding Sources :
Florida International University internal funds.