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To measure change in fruit and vegetable (F&V) consumption among elementary-school children after the introduction of a salad bar programme as a lunch menu option in the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) reimbursable lunch programme in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).
A cross-sectional sample of children was interviewed before and after a salad bar intervention (1998 and 2000, respectively) utilising a 24-hour food recall questionnaire. Frequencies of F&V consumption were calculated.
The evaluation took place in three LAUSD elementary schools participating in the salad bar programme and the USDA reimbursable lunch programme.
Three hundred and thirty-seven children in 2nd–5th grade (7–11 years old).
After the salad bar was introduced, there was a significant increase in frequency (2.97 to 4.09, P < 0.001) of F&V consumed among the children studied. The increase in frequency of F&V consumed was almost all due to an increase during lunch (84%). Mean energy, cholesterol, saturated fat and total fat intakes were significantly lower in the children after the salad bar was introduced in the schools compared with the intakes in the children before the salad bar was introduced.
A salad bar as a lunch menu option in the USDA reimbursable lunch programme can significantly increase the frequency of F&V consumption by elementary-school children living in low-income households.
This study was undertaken to establish the prevalence and severity of nutritional problems among low-income children of elementary school age in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) in order to collect baseline data to inform policy-makers.
Design and methods
A cross-sectional survey of children in 14 elementary schools was conducted from January to June, 1998. Nine hundred and nineteen children were measured and interviewed. The planning, design and data analysis were carried out in collaboration with key LAUSD policy-makers.
More than 35% of the sample was classified as being at risk for overweight or overweight according to body mass index.
There is a high prevalence of children who are at risk for overweight or who are overweight in Los Angeles. This finding has triggered the development of multiple school-based intervention programmes.
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