Published: August 2013

ID #: 65056

Journal: J Acad Nutr Diet

Authors: Nanney MS, Davey CS, Kubik MY

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The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 included a mandate to school districts participating in the federal school meal program to establish and implement policies addressing wellness, including nutrition, by the start of the 2006-07 school year. Using data from the 2008 School Health Profiles principal survey for middle and junior/senior high schools in 28 states, investigators compared the distribution of food and nutrition-related policies and practices by geographic location, minority enrollment, and free/reduced-price school meal enrollment. Researchers found that, compared to urban and suburban schools, schools located in towns and rural communities had significantly fewer policies that support healthy eating strategies and ban food marketing, and were less likely to serve fruits and vegetables at school celebrations, have fruits and vegetables available in vending machines or school stores, and limit serving-size packages. Schools serving the highest percentage of minority students consistently reported the same or better school food environment. However, schools serving the highest percentage of lower-income students had varied results: vending and low-nutrient, energy-dense vending polices were consistently better, but fruits and vegetables availability related policies were consistently worse.

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