This study was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and by the National Institutes of Health. The first author's time was supported a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC.
Associations Between School Meals Offered Through the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program and Fruit and Vegetable Intake Among Ethnically Diverse, Low-Income Children
Article first published online: 14 SEP 2010
© 2010, American School Health Association
Journal of School Health
Volume 80, Issue 10, pages 487–492, October 2010
How to Cite
Robinson-O'Brien, R., Burgess-Champoux, T., Haines, J., Hannan, P. J. and Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2010), Associations Between School Meals Offered Through the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program and Fruit and Vegetable Intake Among Ethnically Diverse, Low-Income Children. Journal of School Health, 80: 487–492. doi: 10.1111/j.1746-1561.2010.00532.x
- Issue published online: 14 SEP 2010
- Article first published online: 14 SEP 2010
- Received on March 6, 2009Accepted on March 5, 2010
- child nutrition;
- fruit and vegetable intake;
- school cafeteria;
- 24-hour recall
BACKGROUND: Despite evidence in support of the health benefits associated with fruit and vegetable (FV) intake, national data indicate that FV consumption among school-aged children is below recommended levels, particularly among low-income children. School meals offered through the School Breakfast Program and National School Lunch Program can provide an important contribution to child FV intake. This study examines the proportion of fruits and vegetables consumed from school meals programs among ethnically diverse, low socioeconomic status children.
METHODS: Participants (n = 103) included fourth to sixth grade boys and girls from 4 urban elementary schools in St. Paul, Minnesota serving primarily low-income populations. Research staff interviewed children during school hours and recorded dietary intake via 24-hour recall. Analysis included descriptive statistics using cross tabulations and means.
RESULTS: Average reported mean (SD) daily FV intake was 3.6 (2.5) servings, with 80% of children consuming fewer than 5 daily servings of FV. On average, children consumed over half of their daily FV intake within school. Children with low FV intake (<5 FV servings daily) consumed a higher proportion of their daily intake at school than children with higher FV intake (≥5 FV servings daily) (39% vs 59%; p = .002).
CONCLUSIONS: Child FV intake is below recommended levels. School meals provide an important contribution to the daily FV intake among ethnically diverse, low socioeconomic status children, particularly among those with the lowest FV intake. School meals programs promoting FV intake within the school environment may provide an opportunity to encourage increased FV consumption.