COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

The National Evaluation of School Nutrition Programs: program impact on dietary intake

S Hanes, J Vermeersch, S Gale
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1984, 40 (2 Suppl): 390-413
6465072
This article describes the dietary analysis component of the National Evaluation of School Nutrition Programs. It addresses two research questions: 1) do participants and nonparticipants in the school nutrition programs have different calorie and nutrient intakes for 24 h, breakfast, and/or lunch and 2) if there are differences in the nutritional quality or total quantity of food consumed? Students who participate in the School Lunch Program get more than nonparticipants of almost all nutrients that were examined, both at lunch and during 24 h. The superior lunch and 24-h intakes of Lunch Program participants are due to the higher nutritional quality of the School Lunch compared with lunches that nonparticipants eat. The most important impact of the School Breakfast is that when the program is available, it increases the likelihood that children will eat breakfast, and children who eat breakfast have significantly higher intakes of nutrients than children who skip breakfast. The School Breakfast provides more calcium, phosphorus, protein, and magnesium than a non-US Department of Agriculture breakfast, but less vitamin A, vitamin B6, niacin, thiamin, and iron. The positive impacts of calcium and phosphorus carry over 24 h, while the negative impacts for vitamin A, vitamin B6, niacin, thiamin, and iron are made up during the remainder of the day. Although strong conclusions cannot be drawn about the impact of the Milk Program, milk is an important component of all US Department of Agriculture school nutrition programs and makes a major contribution to student dietary intake. Its presence in the meal patterns probably accounts for some of the greater nutrient intakes associated with participation in the School Lunch Program and most of the greater intakes associated with participation in the School Breakfast Program.

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