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Special Issue "Improving School Nutrition: Innovations for the 21st Century"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Global Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2022 | Viewed by 12139

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Lorrene D. Ritchie
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Nutrition Policy Institute, University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 1111 Franklin St., 5th Floor, Oakland, CA 94607-5200, USA
Interests: nutrition; obesity; food insecurity; children; food programs
Dr. Wendi Gosliner
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Nutrition Policy Institute, University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 1111 Franklin St., 5th Floor, Oakland, CA 94607-5200, USA
Interests: food systems; food programs; policy; poverty; food waste
Dr. Gurpinder Singh Lalli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Education Observatory, Faculty of Education Health & Wellbeing, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton WV1 1LY, UK
Interests: school food; food security; nutrition; food poverty; food policy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The prevalence of child food insecurity, poor diet, and obesity are at crisis proportions around the world, and schools are where children often consume much of their daily nutrition. Further, schools offer opportunities to advance sustainability goals given that food systems and food choices are implicated in climate change. Despite progress in recent decades, substantial challenges and opportunities to improve school nutrition remain. In the United States, for example, nearly all schools participate in the National School Lunch Program wherein schools are reimbursed for meals meeting nutrition standards. However, fewer schools participate in the School Breakfast Program and even fewer in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for snacks. Even when school foods are available at no cost to students, many choose not to participate. Schools are in the business of educating students, and despite decades of evidence of the important connections between nutrition, health, and education, schools continue to struggle with integrating nutrition services into the school day, and governments struggle with adequately funding high-quality school foods that are free to all students as are other school services. If school meal policies were to accept children as active social agents rather than confined to decisions at the end of the process, then we might see more participative efforts. This Special Issue of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH) focuses on 21st-century global innovations in school nutrition to overcome challenges and improve the diet, food security, and ultimately the health and wellbeing of school-aged children.

Topics of interest are organized below in four over-arching themes:

1) Food Security, Meal Participation, and Investments in School Food

  • Relationship between food security and school feeding programs and how to ensure students at greatest risk receive healthy, appropriate meals at school;
  • Efforts to institute a school meal program, and wellness policies;
  • Legislative successes from local to national: motivating school stakeholders and decision-makers to invest in school nutrition;
  • Innovations in cultural cuisine, the school dining experience, and foodservice delivery;
  • Out-of-school time: role of schools in nutrition during weekends, holidays, summer breaks;
  • Addressing disparities, the stigma of free and reduced-price meals, and shaming for not paying for school meals;
  • Cost–benefit analyses of school nutrition investments;
  • Historical lessons learned from school nutrition program creation and implementation over recent decades;

2)  Nutrition in School Meals

  • Strategies to improve meal/snack quality and student consumption of school foods:
    1. Cost structures and free programs;
    2. Kitchen equipment and foodservice staffing;
    3. Overcoming challenges in reducing sodium, added sugars and portion sizes, and increasing whole grains, fruits, and vegetables;
  • Student engagement and student-led initiatives to improve school nutrition;
  • Roles and engagement of others: parents, school foodservice, teachers, nurses, administrators;
  • Impacts of school nutrition on child health, wellness, and food security;
  • School-community collaborations to improve student nutrition;
  • Drinking water in schools: safety, access, promotion, and consumption;
  • Improving competitive foods and beverages: in and around schools and from home;

 3) Environmental Sustainability

  • Role of school nutrition in mitigating climate change;
  • School foodservice innovations in food and solid waste reduction;
  • Interventions to improve the sustainability of school foodservice;
  • School food policy that includes sustainability goals;

 4) Food Literacy and Nutrition Education in Schools

  • How to implement and sustain effective nutrition education in schools;
  • Impacts of curriculum innovation;
  • Impacts of school gardens, farm-to-school initiatives, cooking programs;
  • How to provide students with skills to navigate 21st century food environments and marketing.

In addition, manuscripts will be considered that cover the following:

  • Cross-country comparisons of school nutrition models and outcomes;
  • Research on school nutrition from underrepresented regions;
  • Recent lessons learned from adaptations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Manuscript types accepted include new research papers involving interventions, secondary data analyses, or qualitative data analyses, reviews, position papers, brief reports, and commentaries.

Dr. Lorrene Ritchie
Dr. Wendi Gosliner
Dr. Gurpinder Singh Lalli
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • school meal participation
  • nutrition education
  • food waste
  • environmental sustainability
  • nutrition standards
  • diet quality
  • food insecurity
  • equity
  • school foodservice

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

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Article
Maintaining School Foodservice Operations in Ohio during COVID-19: “This [Was] Not the Time to Sit Back and Watch”
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(10), 5991; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19105991 - 14 May 2022
Viewed by 419
Abstract
The COVID-19-related lockdowns led to school closures across the United States, cutting off critical resources for nutritious food. Foodservice employees emerged as frontline workers; understanding their experiences is critical to generate innovations for program operations and viability. The purpose of this cross-sectional study [...] Read more.
The COVID-19-related lockdowns led to school closures across the United States, cutting off critical resources for nutritious food. Foodservice employees emerged as frontline workers; understanding their experiences is critical to generate innovations for program operations and viability. The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to characterize COVID-19-related foodservice adaptations for summer and school year meal provision. Public school district foodservice administrators across Ohio were surveyed in December 2020. Questions related to meal provision before, during, and after COVID-19-related school closures. Results indicate the majority of districts continued providing meals upon their closure in Spring 2020 (n = 182, 87.1%); fewer did so in Summer (n = 88, 42.1%) and Fall (n = 32, 15.3%). In Spring and Summer, most districts that offered meals functioned as ‘open sites’ (67.0% and 87.5%, respectively), not limiting food receipt to district-affiliated students. Most districts employed a pick-up system for food distribution (76–84% across seasons), though some used a combination of approaches or changed their approach within-season. Qualitatively, districts reported both “successes” (e.g., supporting students) and “challenges” (e.g., supply chain). Despite being ill-prepared, districts responded quickly and flexibly to demands of the pandemic. This analysis provides insight for future practice (e.g., establishing community partnerships) and policy (e.g., bolstering local food systems). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Improving School Nutrition: Innovations for the 21st Century)
Article
Comparison of Missing School Meals among Public Schools: How Did New York State Do during COVID-19?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(10), 5838; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19105838 - 11 May 2022
Viewed by 273
Abstract
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic created barriers to participation in school meals. As a result, many students may have missed out on school meals. The objectives of this study are (1) to compare the number of school meals served by New York State public [...] Read more.
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic created barriers to participation in school meals. As a result, many students may have missed out on school meals. The objectives of this study are (1) to compare the number of school meals served by New York State public schools during the first spring and summer of the COVID-19 pandemic to the number served before the COVID-19 pandemic, and (2) to determine relationships between the number of meals served and the levels of school district need and urbanicity. Methods: This study is a secondary analysis of administrative data. The percentage change in the number of school breakfasts and lunches served was calculated for each month and by school district need level and urbanicity level. Results: The number of school meals served decreased during the first spring of the pandemic compared to the spring of the previous school year (−43% in April, −51% in May), while the number of school meals served increased during the first summer of the pandemic compared to the summer of the previous school year (+92% in July, +288% in August). Conclusions: Waivers may provide flexibility to increase participation in school meals, especially during the summer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Improving School Nutrition: Innovations for the 21st Century)
Article
Associations between a Universal Free Breakfast Policy and School Breakfast Program Participation, School Attendance, and Weight Status: A District-Wide Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(7), 3749; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19073749 - 22 Mar 2022
Viewed by 549
Abstract
Breakfast consumption among youth is associated with improved diet quality, weight, cognition, and behavior. However, not all youth in the United States consume breakfast. Participation in the School Breakfast Program (SBP) is also low relative to the lunch program. Universal free breakfast (UFB) [...] Read more.
Breakfast consumption among youth is associated with improved diet quality, weight, cognition, and behavior. However, not all youth in the United States consume breakfast. Participation in the School Breakfast Program (SBP) is also low relative to the lunch program. Universal free breakfast (UFB) policies have been implemented to increase breakfast participation by reducing cost and stigma associated with the SBP. This study examined whether a UFB policy implemented in a school district in the Southeast US was associated with changes in breakfast participation, school attendance, and student weight. A longitudinal study of secondary data was conducted, and a mixed modeling approach was used to assess patterns of change in SBP participation. General linear models were used to assess attendance and student weight change. On average, across schools in the district, there was an increase in breakfast participation of 4.1 percentage points following the implementation of the policy. The change in breakfast participation in schools differed by the percent of students in the school who received school meals for free or at a reduced price, the percent of students of color, and the grade level of the school. Increases in SBP participation were not associated with significant changes in attendance or weight. UFB policies may be effective in increasing participation in the SBP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Improving School Nutrition: Innovations for the 21st Century)
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Article
Distributing Summer Meals during a Pandemic: Challenges and Innovations
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(6), 3167; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19063167 - 08 Mar 2022
Viewed by 693
Abstract
The USDA summer food programs provide meals for children when school is not in session. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges for food distribution programs, many regulations have been waived, providing opportunities for new approaches to meal distribution. The aim of this [...] Read more.
The USDA summer food programs provide meals for children when school is not in session. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges for food distribution programs, many regulations have been waived, providing opportunities for new approaches to meal distribution. The aim of this study was to identify practices designed to increase program participation during the summer of 2021. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with food service directors (N = 16) in a northeastern state. Questions addressed meal distribution methods; perceptions about facilitators and barriers to family participation; communication strategies used to reach families; and engagement with community partners. The responses were analyzed using an immersion-crystallization approach and four themes emerged: new opportunities for innovation due to the waivers; the importance of collaboration with community partners to increase reach; ongoing logistical challenges due to the pandemic; and the challenge and importance of reducing the stigma of participation. These findings underscore how the USDA waivers increased food service directors’ ability to flexibly and creatively solve problems related to summer meal delivery. The FSDs believed that several of the waivers helped them increase participation in the summer meal program, suggesting that permanent changes to the summer meal regulations may be appropriate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Improving School Nutrition: Innovations for the 21st Century)
Article
How Primary School Curriculums in 11 Countries around the World Deliver Food Education and Address Food Literacy: A Policy Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(4), 2019; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19042019 - 11 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1326
Abstract
(1) Background: As one of the biggest drivers of health and climate change, the food system has unrealised potential to influence consumption toward affordable, healthy, sustainable diets. A range of policy levers, including mandating food education, are needed. Schools are considered the best [...] Read more.
(1) Background: As one of the biggest drivers of health and climate change, the food system has unrealised potential to influence consumption toward affordable, healthy, sustainable diets. A range of policy levers, including mandating food education, are needed. Schools are considered the best place for food education and childhood is a crucial period when eating habits that persist into adulthood are formed. Food education as part of the curriculum is crucial in generating population shifts in food systems improvements. The purpose of this policy analysis was to analyse mandatory curriculums in different countries to explore the ways in which primary school food education addresses food literacy. (2) Methods: This study analyses how food education within primary school education policy, in 11 countries, addresses Food Literacy (FL). It is the first study of this kind. A case study methodology was employed, and curriculum policy content analysis was conducted using a Food Literacy framework. (3) Results: Each country has a curriculum dedicated to food education, supported by food education in non-food curriculums. There is no standardized approach to primary school food education policy, no consensus in primary food education nomenclature or what curriculums constitute. Curriculums focus on cooking and health topics, but significantly less on social-cultural, equity, and sustainability issues. (4) Conclusion: How primary curriculums around the world deliver food education policy to address FL varies enormously. All 11 countries have dedicated food curriculums, supported by non-food curriculums, but there is no consensus as to what food education is called or constitutes. Countries rarely deal with FL comprehensively. The most comprehensive are single, detailed food curriculums, complemented by non-food curriculums where food knowledge and skills progress clearly and are the intended learning outcome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Improving School Nutrition: Innovations for the 21st Century)
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Article
Effects of Large-Scale Municipal Safe Routes to School Infrastructure on Student Active Travel and Physical Activity: Design, Methods, and Baseline Data of the Safe Travel Environment Evaluation in Texas Schools (STREETS) Natural Experiment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(3), 1810; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031810 - 05 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 889
Abstract
Past evaluations of Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs have been relatively small in scope and have lacked objective measurements of physical activity. A 2016 Mobility Bond in Austin, Texas, USA, allocated USD 27.5 million for infrastructure changes to facilitate active commuting to [...] Read more.
Past evaluations of Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs have been relatively small in scope and have lacked objective measurements of physical activity. A 2016 Mobility Bond in Austin, Texas, USA, allocated USD 27.5 million for infrastructure changes to facilitate active commuting to schools (ACS). The Safe TRavel Environment Evaluation in Texas Schools (STREETS) study aims to determine the health effects of these infrastructure changes. The purpose of this paper is to describe the STREETS study design, methods, and selected baseline results. The STREETS study is comprised of two designs: (1) a serial cross-sectional design to assess changes in ACS prevalence, and (2) a quasi-experimental, prospective cohort to examine changes in physical activity. Differences between study arms (Austin SRTS and comparison) were assessed for school demographics, ACS, and school programs. At baseline, 14.3% of school trips were made by ACS, with non-significant differences between study arms. Only 26% of schools implemented ACS-related programs. Some significant differences across SRTS and comparison schools were identified for several school- and neighborhood-level characteristics. Substantial changes are needed across area schools and neighborhoods to promote optimum ACS. STREETS study longitudinal findings will be critical for informing optimal future implementations of SRTS programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Improving School Nutrition: Innovations for the 21st Century)
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Article
Elementary Schools’ Response to Student Wellness Needs during the COVID-19 Shutdown: A Qualitative Exploration Using the R = MC2 Readiness Heuristic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(1), 279; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19010279 - 27 Dec 2021
Viewed by 1010
Abstract
During spring of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying public health advisories forced K-12 schools throughout the United States to suspend in-person instruction. School personnel rapidly transitioned to remote provision of academic instruction and wellness services such as school meals and counseling services. [...] Read more.
During spring of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying public health advisories forced K-12 schools throughout the United States to suspend in-person instruction. School personnel rapidly transitioned to remote provision of academic instruction and wellness services such as school meals and counseling services. The aim of this study was to investigate how schools responded to the transition to remote supports, including assessment of what readiness characteristics schools leveraged or developed to facilitate those transitions. Semi-structured interviews informed by school wellness implementation literature were conducted in the spring of 2020. Personnel (n = 50) from 39 urban and rural elementary schools nationwide participated. The readiness = motivation capacity2 (R = MC2) heuristic, developed by Scaccia and colleagues, guided coding to determine themes related to schools’ readiness to support student wellness in innovative ways during the pandemic closure. Two distinct code sets emerged, defined according to the R = MC2 heuristic (1) Innovations: roles that schools took on during the pandemic response, and (2) Readiness: factors influencing schools’ motivation and capacity to carry out those roles. Schools demonstrated unprecedented capacity and motivation to provide crucial wellness support to students and families early in the COVID-19 pandemic. These efforts can inform future resource allocation and new strategies to implement school wellness practices when schools resume normal operations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Improving School Nutrition: Innovations for the 21st Century)
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Article
The Diet of Children Attending a Holiday Programme in the UK: Adherence to UK Food-Based Dietary Guidelines and School Food Standards
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(1), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19010055 - 22 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 752
Abstract
Child poverty rates are rising, particularly in London, putting more children at risk of experiencing food insecurity. Holiday programmes in the UK provide children who receive free schools meals during term time with access to free/low-cost holiday clubs offering nutritious food and enriching [...] Read more.
Child poverty rates are rising, particularly in London, putting more children at risk of experiencing food insecurity. Holiday programmes in the UK provide children who receive free schools meals during term time with access to free/low-cost holiday clubs offering nutritious food and enriching activities during the school holidays. This study aimed to investigate whether children’s dietary intake was more adherent to the UK Eatwell Guide throughout the day and meets School Food Standards (SFS) for the lunchtime meal on a club attendance versus a non-attendance day. A repeated measures design was used to assess data on the food and drink intake of children (n = 57) aged 7–16 years old using a 24 h recall method on two separate occasions: once based on an attending club day and once based on a non-attending club day. The results showed children’s diet quality improved (p = 0.007) on an attending club day (mean: 58.0 ± SD 12.6) versus a non-attending club day (51.8 ± 15.0). Children also more closely adhered to the SFS (p = 0.001) on an attending club day (median = 9, interquartile range = 8–9) versus a non-attending club day (median = 7, interquartile range = 6–8). This suggests that holiday programmes targeting children who receive free school meals during term time have the potential to improve children’s dietary behaviours during the school holidays, underlining the importance of holiday programmes to support food security. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Improving School Nutrition: Innovations for the 21st Century)
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Article
The Efficacy and Cost-Effectiveness of Replacing Whole Apples with Sliced in the National School Lunch Program
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(24), 13157; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182413157 - 14 Dec 2021
Viewed by 742
Abstract
The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) serves 29.6 million lunches each day. Schools must offer ½ a cup of fruit for each lunch tray. Much of this fruit may be wasted, leaving the schools in a dilemma. The objectives of this study were [...] Read more.
The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) serves 29.6 million lunches each day. Schools must offer ½ a cup of fruit for each lunch tray. Much of this fruit may be wasted, leaving the schools in a dilemma. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the consumption of whole vs. sliced apples and determine the cost-effectiveness of the intervention. Researchers weighed apple waste at baseline and three post-intervention time points in one rural Midwest school. The costs of the intervention were collected from the school. The cost-effectiveness analysis estimates how often apples need to be served to offset the costs of the slicing intervention. A total of (n = 313) elementary student students participated. Students consumed significantly more sliced as compared to whole apples in intervention months 3 (β = 21.5, p < 0.001) and 4 (β = 27.7, p < 0.001). The intervention cost was USD 299. The value of wasted apple decreased from USD 0.26 at baseline to USD 0.23 wasted at post-intervention. The school would need to serve 9403 apples during the school year (54 times) to cover the expenses of the intervention. In conclusion, serving sliced apples may be a cost-effective way to improve fruit consumption during school lunch. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Improving School Nutrition: Innovations for the 21st Century)
Article
Do Parental Perceptions of the Nutritional Quality of School Meals Reflect the Food Environment in Public Schools?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(20), 10764; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182010764 - 14 Oct 2021
Viewed by 727
Abstract
(1) Background: It is unknown whether parents’ perception of school meals, a determinant of student meal participation, align with the nutritional quality of meals served in schools. This study compares the healthfulness of foods offered in schools with parental perception of school meals [...] Read more.
(1) Background: It is unknown whether parents’ perception of school meals, a determinant of student meal participation, align with the nutritional quality of meals served in schools. This study compares the healthfulness of foods offered in schools with parental perception of school meals at those same schools. (2) Method: Parents were asked to rate the healthfulness of school meals at their child’s school. Data on the types of foods offered were collected from public schools in four cities in New Jersey and matched with parent-reported data. Measures were developed to capture the presence of healthy and unhealthy items in the National School Lunch Program and the presence of a la carte offerings as well as vending machines. Multivariable analysis examined the association between parental perceptions of school meals and the school food measures after adjusting for covariates. (3) Results: Measures of the school food environment and parental perceptions were available for 890 pre-K to 12th grade students. No significant associations were observed between parental perceptions and food environment measures when examined one by one or in a comprehensive model. (4) Conclusions: Parents’ perception of the healthfulness of meals served do not align with the nutritional quality of foods offered at schools. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Improving School Nutrition: Innovations for the 21st Century)
Article
Prevalence of Evidence-Based School Meal Practices and Associations with Reported Food Waste across a National Sample of U.S. Elementary Schools
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(16), 8558; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168558 - 13 Aug 2021
Viewed by 870
Abstract
Providing meals at school is an important part of the hunger safety net for children in the United States and worldwide; however, many children do not receive school meals even when they qualify for federally-subsidized free or reduced-priced meals. This study investigates the [...] Read more.
Providing meals at school is an important part of the hunger safety net for children in the United States and worldwide; however, many children do not receive school meals even when they qualify for federally-subsidized free or reduced-priced meals. This study investigates the prevalence of several evidence-based practices that have previously been shown to increase the reach and impact of school meals. A survey was sent to a national sample of US elementary schools, with items examining practices regarding school breakfast, school lunch, recess, the promotion of meals, nutrition standards, and food waste, during the 2019–20 school year. Almost all schools that offered lunch also offered breakfast. More than 50% used a breakfast service strategy other than cafeteria service, such as grab-and-go breakfast meals. Providing at least 30 min for lunch periods and providing recess before lunch were reported by less than half of schools. About 50% of schools reported using only one or fewer meal promotional strategies (such as taste tests) throughout the school year. Use of more promotional strategies was associated with less reported food waste in a multivariable regression model accounting for school demographic characteristics. Findings show that some evidence-based practices for school meals are being implemented, but many recommendations are not being widely adopted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Improving School Nutrition: Innovations for the 21st Century)
Article
Assessment of an Educational Intervention to Improve Healthy Life Habits in Children Living in Vulnerable Socioeconomic Conditions
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(9), 4495; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18094495 - 23 Apr 2021
Viewed by 1117
Abstract
Nutritional condition impacts academic performance and cognitive development. In Peru, the prevalence of chronic undernutrition in children is 6.9%, increasing the risk of mortality and morbidity. This study aimed to develop an educational intervention to achieve an improvement in the healthy habits of [...] Read more.
Nutritional condition impacts academic performance and cognitive development. In Peru, the prevalence of chronic undernutrition in children is 6.9%, increasing the risk of mortality and morbidity. This study aimed to develop an educational intervention to achieve an improvement in the healthy habits of children in a primary education school in Lima who live in vulnerable socioeconomic conditions. We conducted a prospective quasi-experimental pre-test and post-test study of an educational intervention. The information was collected through the adaptation of the WHO questionnaire “Global School-based Student Health Survey” (GSHS), with anthropometric variables, socioeconomic level, hygiene and eating habits. One hundred eight students from 5 to 13 years old from Arenitas del Mar School in Lima (Peru) participated. The educational intervention improved eating habits. Fruit and vegetable consumption 3 or more times/day (50.9%) increased after the educational intervention (49% vs. 62.9%,) p < 0.0001. There was an improvement in hygiene habits, such as the frequency of handwashing with soap (32.4% vs. 63.9%) and the frequency of weekly bathing 4–6 times/week (25% vs. 47.5%) p < 0.0001. The educational intervention promoted better healthy living behaviors, eating habits and hygiene. This kind of initiative is a crucial tool to establish healthy living habits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Improving School Nutrition: Innovations for the 21st Century)

Review

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Review
Evaluating Food Packaging Waste in Schools: A Systematic Literature Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(9), 5607; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095607 - 05 May 2022
Viewed by 567
Abstract
Public schools in the U.S. generate about 14,500 tons of municipal solid waste daily, and approximately 42% of that is food packaging generated by school foodservice, contributing significantly to the global packaging waste crisis. This literature review summarizes methods used to evaluate food [...] Read more.
Public schools in the U.S. generate about 14,500 tons of municipal solid waste daily, and approximately 42% of that is food packaging generated by school foodservice, contributing significantly to the global packaging waste crisis. This literature review summarizes methods used to evaluate food packaging waste in school foodservice. This review has two objectives: first, to understand which methodologies currently exist to evaluate food packaging waste generation and disposal in school foodservice; and second, to describe the creation of and share a practical standardized instrument to evaluate food packaging waste generation and disposal in school foodservice. A systematic review was conducted using the following search terms: solid waste, school, cafeteria and food packaging, waste, and school. The final review included 24 studies conducted in school environments (kindergarten through twelfth grade or college/university), 16 of which took place in the U.S. Food packaging waste evaluations included objective methods of waste audits, models, and secondary data as well as subjective methods of qualitative observations, questionnaires, interviews, and focus groups. Large variation exists in the settings, participants, designs, and methodologies for evaluating school foodservice packaging waste. Lack of standardization was observed even within each methodology (e.g., waste audit). A new instrument is proposed to support comprehensive and replicable data collection, to further the understanding of school foodservice food packaging waste in the U.S., and to reduce environmental harms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Improving School Nutrition: Innovations for the 21st Century)
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