The National School Lunch Program has the capacity to reduce consumption of low-nutrient, energy-dense foods (LNEDs) among schoolchildren. Data from the third School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study (SNDA-III) indicates that consumption of competitive foods is widespread.
Competitive foods are those foods consumed in school and not obtained from subsidized school lunches or breakfasts (i.e., snack foods). This article presents research related to the consumption of competitive foods among participants and nonparticipants in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). SNDA-III field interviewers used three separate checklists to document the types and availability of competitive foods. A two-step process was used to assess competitive food consumption in children: onsite observations and a 24-hour recall.
- Competitive food consumers who ate school lunches obtained 7 percent of daily energy from LNEDs compared with 10 percent daily intakes for competitive food consumers who did not eat lunch.
- Children who consumed competitive foods obtained more than 150 calories from LNEDs (previous studies suggest that reduction in energy intake of up to 150 calories could have prevented weight gain observed in children from 1988–2002).
- Vending machines were present in over 80 percent of high schools.
SNDA-III strengthens understanding of how competitive foods interact with the school meal programs.
- 1. The Third School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study
- 2. A Practice Perspective on the Third School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study
- 3. Evaluation's Vital Role in Healthier School Meals
- 4. Meals Offered and Served in US Public Schools
- 5. Nutritional Quality of the Diets of US Public School Children and the Role of the School Meal Programs
- 6. Availability and Consumption of Competitive Foods in US Public Schools
- 7. School Meals
- 8. Consumption of Low-Nutrient, Energy-Dense Foods and Beverages at School, Home, and Other Locations Among School Lunch Participants and Nonparticipants
- 9. School Food Environments and Practices Affect Dietary Behaviors of US Public School Children
- 10. Association Between School Food Environment and Practices and Body Mass Index of U.S. Public School Children
- 11. School Breakfast Program But Not School Lunch Program Participation is Associated with Lower Body Mass Index