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A Pilot Study on the New USDA Meal Pattern for School Breakfast in a Sample of First-Grade Students

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Author(s): Noelle Carr | Sibylle Kranz

Journal: Food and Nutrition Sciences
ISSN 2157-944X

Volume: 03;
Issue: 09;
Start page: 1329;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: School Breakfast | Meal Pattern | Intake Recommendation

ABSTRACT
Background: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently modified the school breakfast program (SBP) to improve children’s nutrition. Based on the new patterns, schools must offer larger amounts of fruits, grains, and proteins/meats to children; the amounts of fluid foods (milk and juice) remained the same. This study examined the effect of the new food pattern on student’s consumption and food cost. Methods: The amounts and cost of foods served and wasted for one week in first grade students attending two elementary schools (n = 812) were measured. One school received the current SBP pattern (control breakfast, average number of students attending breakfast n = 81), the other school’s breakfast reflected the proposed changes (test breakfast, n = 82). To test the hypothesis that the test breakfast leads to significantly increased food cost and food waste compared to the control breakfast, the weekly average amount of the served solid and fluid foods (grams and milliliters) as well as their waste were compared between the two groups using paired student’s t-test in STATA 11 (significance at p-value < 0.05). Results: Data confirmed the hypothesis in that the test breakfast was associated with significantly higher food cost (by approximately $100/week) and solid food waste but there was no change in milk and juice consumption. Conclusions: This exploratory study indicates that a significant portion of the additional foods served to first-graders to improve their nutritional status were not consumed but wasted. Further studies in larger samples and including students from all grades are needed to examine this issue fully.
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