To What Extent Have High Schools in California Been Able to Implement State-Mandated Nutrition Standards?

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation invests in research aimed at halting the rise in childhood obesity. This study, part of a supplement focusing on obesity research, examined whether high schools in California were compliant with state nutrition standards in 2008.

California Senate Bills (SB) 12 and 965, passed in 2005, enacted stringent legislation aimed at regulating the school food environment. California mandated that its schools fully adhere to the new food and beverage standards by summer 2009. This study investigated adherence to the legislation in spring 2008. Trained staff members recorded the location and availability of competitive foods, (i.e., foods obtained from vending machines). Data on food and beverages were entered into the school nutrition environment assessment tool FoodBEAMS.

Key Findings:

  • Urban schools with a higher proportion of non-white students were more likely to meet school beverage standards.
  • Only the three schools that eliminated sales of competitive foods were 100 percent compliant with SB 12 food regulations.

This report includes data on the most frequently available compliant and non-compliant foods. Further research should re-examine adherence to SB 12 and SB 965 after 2009, when schools must be 100 percent compliant with food and beverage standards.