As part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, snacks and desserts sold in schools as of the 2014-2015 school year were required to meet “Smart Snacks” nutritional guidelines. This study evaluated the potential of using public bid records to characterize the nutrition quality of snack food procured by school districts. Using Interflex, a database of public bid records, this study examined data for 8 school districts across the United States during 2011-2012, 2012-2013, and 2013-2014 to provide 3 years of pre-Smart Snacks data. The research team quantified the amount of calories and sugar of each product contained in the won bids based on available online sources and determined whether the product complied with Smart Snack guidelines. In all 8 districts, at least 50 percent of snack bids were compliant with the Smart Snacks standards during the 2013-2014 school year. Across sampled districts, there was a general trend in lower caloric density (kcal per product) and sugar density (grams of sugar per product) over a 3-year period. The study concluded that while the majority of bids put out by school districts from 2011 to 2014 met Smart Snacks standards, room for improvement remains. In addition, bid databases such as Interflex could be useful as a surveillance tool to examine school district food procurement practices, but there are challenges and limitations.
Nutrition Quality of U.S. School Snack Foods: A First Look at 2011-2014 Bid Records in 8 School Districts
Using a Bid Database to Study the Nutritional Quality of Competitive Foods in Schools and Establish a Baseline for Evaluating New USDA Guidelines
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently proposed new standards for snack (competitive) foods in schools, similar to the Competitive Foods Guidelines developed by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. This project will objectively track changes in snack food purchasing among K-12 public schools as a result ofthese standards. The aims … More
This Brief summarizes select characteristics of state-level policies and programs to test for lead in school drinking water. It is based on a study from researchers at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and the University of California Nutrition Policy Institute. The full results of the study, … More
The marketing of unhealthy foods to children and youth is a major public health concern. Children in the United States grow up surrounded by food and beverage marketing, which primarily promotes products with excessive amounts of added sugar, salt, and fat, and inadequate amounts of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. … More