Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New school meal standards significantly increase fruit, vegetable consumption

Date:
March 4, 2014
Source:
Harvard School of Public Health
Summary:
New federal standards launched in 2012 that require schools to offer healthier meals have led to increased fruit and vegetable consumption, according to a new study. The study, the first to examine school food consumption both before and after the standards went into effect, contradicts criticisms that the new standards have increased food waste. "There is a push from some organizations and lawmakers to weaken the new standards. We hope the findings, which show that students are consuming more fruits and vegetables, will discourage those efforts," said the lead author.

New federal standards launched in 2012 that require schools to offer healthier meals have led to increased fruit and vegetable consumption, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers. The study, the first to examine school food consumption both before and after the standards went into effect, contradicts criticisms that the new standards have increased food waste.

Related Articles


"There is a push from some organizations and lawmakers to weaken the new standards. We hope the findings, which show that students are consuming more fruits and vegetables, will discourage those efforts," said lead author Juliana Cohen, research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH.

Some 32 million students eat school meals every day; for many low-income students, up to half their daily energy intake is from school meals. Under the previous dietary guidelines, school breakfasts and lunches were high in sodium and saturated fats and were low in whole grains and fiber. The new standards from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) aimed to improve the nutritional quality of school meals by making whole grains, fruits, and vegetables more available, requiring the selection of a fruit or vegetable, increasing the portion sizes of fruits and vegetables, removing trans fats, and placing limits on total calories and sodium levels.

The researchers collected plate waste data among 1,030 students in four schools in an urban, low-income school district both before (fall 2011) and after (fall 2012) the new standards went into effect. Following the implementation of the new standards, fruit selection increased by 23.0%; entrιe and vegetable selection remained unchanged. In addition, consumption of vegetables increased by 16.2%; fruit consumption was unchanged, but because more students selected fruit, overall, more fruit was consumed post-implementation.

Importantly, the new standards did not result in increased food waste, contradicting anecdotal reports from food service directors, teachers, parents, and students that the regulations were causing an increase in waste due to both larger portion sizes and the requirement that students select a fruit or vegetable. However, high levels of fruit and vegetable waste continued to be a problem -- students discarded roughly 60%-75% of vegetables and 40% of fruits on their trays. The authors say that schools must focus on improving food quality and palatability to reduce waste.

"The new school meal standards are the strongest implemented by the USDA to date, and the improved dietary intakes will likely have important health implications for children," wrote the researchers.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Harvard School of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Juliana F.W. Cohen, Scott Richardson, Ellen Parker, Paul J. Catalano, Eric B. Rimm. Impact of the New U.S. Department of Agriculture School Meal Standards on Food Selection, Consumption, and Waste. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, March 2014 DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2013.11.013

Cite This Page:

Harvard School of Public Health. "New school meal standards significantly increase fruit, vegetable consumption." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140304071040.htm>.
Harvard School of Public Health. (2014, March 4). New school meal standards significantly increase fruit, vegetable consumption. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 2, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140304071040.htm
Harvard School of Public Health. "New school meal standards significantly increase fruit, vegetable consumption." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140304071040.htm (accessed March 2, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Monday, March 2, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Doctors Often Give In To Vaccine-Wary Parents

Doctors Often Give In To Vaccine-Wary Parents

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) — A new survey published in the journal Pediatrics found many doctors are giving in to parents&apos; requests to delay vaccinating their children. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Texas Nurse Suing Hospital Where She Contracted Ebola

Texas Nurse Suing Hospital Where She Contracted Ebola

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) — In an exclusive interview, The Dallas Morning News reports nurse Nina Pham is now suing Texas Health Presbyterian after contracting Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Samsung Pay Make Mobile Payments Catch On?

Can Samsung Pay Make Mobile Payments Catch On?

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) — Samsung unveiled a mobile payment system that could have a wider reach than Apple Pay thanks to technology that mimics a credit card&apos;s magnetic strip. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) — Margaret Duffy of the University of Missouri talks about her study on the social network and the envy and depression that Facebook use can cause. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins