In 2004, the Chicago schools began a "Cool Food" program, offering salad bars in schools. In a 2005–06 project, researchers from the Chicago Food System Collaborative studied whether providing nutrition education to children affected their lunch choices in schools with salad bars.
The Chicago Food System Collaborative is a consortium of community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, technical assistance providers and academic institutions. One of its missions is to increase access to healthy foods in minority communities.
Key Findings: Jamie B. Bussel, the project's program officer at RWJF, notes that the main finding is: "When the environmental change of offering salad bars in schools has been implemented, their use is increased, especially when the change is also coupled with nutrition education."
- Children ate more fresh fruit and vegetables after receiving nutrition education.
- Children's knowledge of fruits and vegetables significantly increased after receiving nutrition education.