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Title: Wellness in the schools: A lunch intervention increases fruit and vegetable consumption
Authors: Koch, Pamela A.
Wolf, Randi L.
Trent, Raynika J.
Ang, Ian Yi Han 
Dallefeld, Matthew
Tipton, Elizabeth
Gray, Heewon L.
Guerra, Laura
Di Noia, Jennifer
Keywords: Elementary school
Food and nutrition education programming
Fruit and vegetable consumption
School meals
School wellness
School-based intervention
Issue Date: 2-Sep-2021
Publisher: MDPI
Citation: Koch, Pamela A., Wolf, Randi L., Trent, Raynika J., Ang, Ian Yi Han, Dallefeld, Matthew, Tipton, Elizabeth, Gray, Heewon L., Guerra, Laura, Di Noia, Jennifer (2021-09-02). Wellness in the schools: A lunch intervention increases fruit and vegetable consumption. Nutrients 13 (9) : 3085. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Rights: Attribution 4.0 International
Abstract: Wellness in the Schools (WITS) is a national non-profit organization partnering with public schools to provide healthy, scratch cooked, less processed meals (called an Alternative Menu), and active recess. This study examined the effects of WITS programming on school lunch consumption, including fruit and vegetable intake, in second and third grade students in New York City public schools serving a high proportion of students from low-income households. The intervention was evaluated with a quasi-experimental, controlled design with 14 elementary schools (7 that had initiated WITS programming in fall 2015 and were designated as intervention schools, and 7 matched Control schools). School lunch consumption was assessed by anonymous observation using the System of Observational Cafeteria Assessment of Foods Eaten (SOCAFE) tool in the fall of 2015 (Time 0, early intervention) and the spring of 2016 (Time 1) and 2017 (Time 2). There were no baseline data. Data were also collected on the types of entrées served in the months of October, January, and April during the two school years of the study. Across time points, and relative to students in the Control schools, students in WITS schools ate more fruits and vegetables (units = cups): Time 0: Control 0.18 vs. WITS 0.28; Time 1: Control 0.25 vs. WITS 0.31; and Time 2: Control 0.19 vs. WITS 0.27; p < 0.001. They also had more fruits and vegetables (cups) on their trays, which included more vegetables from the salad bar. However, students in the WITS schools ate fewer entrées (grain and protein) and drank less milk than students in the Control schools. Compared to the Control schools, WITS schools offered more homestyle entrées and fewer finger foods and sandwich entrees, i.e., less processed food. Students in WITS schools who received the Alternative menu and all of the WITS programming at all data collection time points selected and consumed more fruits and vegetables. Replication studies with randomized designs and true baseline data are needed to confirm these findings and to identify avenues for strengthening the effects of the program on other school lunch components. © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
Source Title: Nutrients
ISSN: 2072-6643
DOI: 10.3390/nu13093085
Rights: Attribution 4.0 International
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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