The purpose of this project is to conduct an exploratory, pilot study with three schools to determine how school cafeteria renovations that create choice-based serving lines, a variety of inviting and comfortable seating options, and nutrition education messaging may impact school lunch consumption, seated time, attitudes, and school lunch participation rates. To measure the potential effects of STARCafé on students’ intake, school lunch consumption will be measured using before and after meal digital photography at two months and one academic year post-renovation. Seated time will be measured using the time stamp on before and after meal photos. Healthy eating attitudes of students toward school lunch will be measured using a brief 36-item survey. School lunch participation rates will be assessed using transaction-level point-of-service data. Noise level will be measured using noise measure procedures from prior studies. The research team will assess the fidelity of the STARCafé renovations to the Healthy Eating Design Guidelines at two months and one academic year post-renovation. Finally, the research team will assess the adoption of new healthy food-related policies and programs in the three schools.
Exploring the Effects of School Transformation and Redesign of Cafeterias (STARCafé)
Schools play a vital role in promoting children’s health and well-being. In the United States, schools contribute significantly to children’s overall diet quality and can provide up to half of their daily calories, especially among children from low-income families. Providing healthy school meals for all is a policy opportunity to … More
Strengthening the Impact of USDA’s Child Nutrition Summer Feeding Programs During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic
To address food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic, utilization of the USDA child nutrition summer feeding programs has drastically increased. Given the unprecedented use of the summer feeding programs, this research brief will (1) explain the meal pattern requirements and select operational differences between the summer feeding programs and the … More
Special Issue on School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study-I: Findings Related to Improving Diet Quality, Weight, and Disparities in U.S. Children
School meals are important contributors to the healthy diets of our nation’s children, especially those in food insecure households, according to new papers published in a special issue of the journal Nutrients. The papers address urgent policy challenges related to food security, childhood obesity, sugar consumption, and racial and ethnic … More