Start Date: November 2011

ID #: 69485

Principal Investigator: Rajiv Bhatia, MD, MPH

Organization: San Francisco Department of Public Health

Funding Round: Rapid-Response Round 4

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During the 2009-10 school year, the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) and San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) experimented with the removal of a la carte foods in one middle school and two high schools as a way to reduce stigma and increase National School Lunch Program (NSLP) participation. Learning from this pilot, SFUSD decided to eliminate all a la carte meals from schools during the 2010-11 school year. This project proposes a quantitative evaluation of the outcomes from this intervention. The intervention and its evaluation have broad policy relevance to national school food and child nutrition policies, including those related to funding the NSLP, and USDA regulations including financial record keeping of competitive foods. The specific aims of this study are to: 1) assess quantitative changes in student NSLP participation by income level (free/reduced/paid) before and after the removal of competitive foods, utilizing NSLP program participation data, and 2) assess quantitative changes in NSLP operating costs and revenues before and after the intervention, evaluating whether the elimination of competitive foods resulted in a positive effect on school finances. The study will take place in a large, multi-ethnic, urban school district of over 53,000 students, 61% of whom are qualified for free and reduced-price meals.

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