Role of the Elementary School Cafeteria Environment in Fruit, Vegetable, and Whole-Grain Consumption by 6- to 8-Year-Old Students

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Abstract

Objective: Examine how the physical cafeteria environment contributes to 6- to 8-year-olds’ school food consumption. Design: Cross-sectional observational study. Before-and-after lunch tray photos taken with iPads to capture food selection and consumption. Setting: 10 New York City public elementary school cafeterias. Participants: A total of 382 students aged 6–8 years who ate lunch in the cafeteria on observation days. Main Outcome Measures: Fruit, vegetable, or whole-grain consumption. Analysis: Pearson's chi-square and multivariate logistic regression assessed associations between cafeteria environmental factors (time to eat lunch, noise, and crowding) and vegetable, fruit, and/or whole-grain consumption with 95% confidence, adjusted for school-level demographics and clustered by school. Results: Approximately 70% of students selected fruits, vegetables, and/or whole grains. When selected, consumption was 25%, 43%, and 57%, respectively. Longer time to eat lunch was associated with higher consumption of fruits (odds ratio [OR] = 2.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1–3.8; P =.02) and whole grains (OR = 2.1; 95% CI, 1.003–4.2; P <.05). Quieter cafeterias were associated with eating more vegetables (OR = 3.9; 95% CI, 1.8–8.4; P <.001) and whole grains (OR = 2.7; 95% CI, 2.6–4.7; P <.001). Less crowding was associated with eating more fruit (OR = 2.3; 95% CI, 1.03–5.3; P =.04) and whole grains (OR = 3.3; 95% CI, 1.9–5.6; P <.001). Conclusions and Implications: Healthy food consumption by 6- to 8-year-old students is associated with cafeteria crowding, noise, and time to eat lunch. Implementing and enforcing changes to the cafeteria environment mandated by wellness policies may reduce plate waste.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Fingerprint

Lunch
Vegetables
Fruit
Odds Ratio
Confidence Intervals
Students
Crowding
Noise
Eating
Food Preferences
Food
Observational Studies
Whole Grains
Cross-Sectional Studies
Logistic Models
Observation
Demography
Outcome Assessment (Health Care)

Keywords

  • Cafeteria environment
  • child nutrition
  • school lunch

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

Cite this

@article{a1f5f7c02aff43df91852fc709e07e50,
title = "Role of the Elementary School Cafeteria Environment in Fruit, Vegetable, and Whole-Grain Consumption by 6- to 8-Year-Old Students",
abstract = "Objective: Examine how the physical cafeteria environment contributes to 6- to 8-year-olds’ school food consumption. Design: Cross-sectional observational study. Before-and-after lunch tray photos taken with iPads to capture food selection and consumption. Setting: 10 New York City public elementary school cafeterias. Participants: A total of 382 students aged 6–8 years who ate lunch in the cafeteria on observation days. Main Outcome Measures: Fruit, vegetable, or whole-grain consumption. Analysis: Pearson's chi-square and multivariate logistic regression assessed associations between cafeteria environmental factors (time to eat lunch, noise, and crowding) and vegetable, fruit, and/or whole-grain consumption with 95{\%} confidence, adjusted for school-level demographics and clustered by school. Results: Approximately 70{\%} of students selected fruits, vegetables, and/or whole grains. When selected, consumption was 25{\%}, 43{\%}, and 57{\%}, respectively. Longer time to eat lunch was associated with higher consumption of fruits (odds ratio [OR] = 2.0; 95{\%} confidence interval [CI], 1.1–3.8; P =.02) and whole grains (OR = 2.1; 95{\%} CI, 1.003–4.2; P <.05). Quieter cafeterias were associated with eating more vegetables (OR = 3.9; 95{\%} CI, 1.8–8.4; P <.001) and whole grains (OR = 2.7; 95{\%} CI, 2.6–4.7; P <.001). Less crowding was associated with eating more fruit (OR = 2.3; 95{\%} CI, 1.03–5.3; P =.04) and whole grains (OR = 3.3; 95{\%} CI, 1.9–5.6; P <.001). Conclusions and Implications: Healthy food consumption by 6- to 8-year-old students is associated with cafeteria crowding, noise, and time to eat lunch. Implementing and enforcing changes to the cafeteria environment mandated by wellness policies may reduce plate waste.",
keywords = "Cafeteria environment, child nutrition, school lunch",
author = "Gross, {Susan M} and Erin Biehl and Marshall, {Beth Renee D} and Paige, {David M.} and Mmari, {Kristin N}",
year = "2018",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.jneb.2018.07.002",
language = "English (US)",
journal = "Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior",
issn = "1499-4046",
publisher = "Elsevier Inc.",

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T1 - Role of the Elementary School Cafeteria Environment in Fruit, Vegetable, and Whole-Grain Consumption by 6- to 8-Year-Old Students

AU - Gross, Susan M

AU - Biehl, Erin

AU - Marshall, Beth Renee D

AU - Paige, David M.

AU - Mmari, Kristin N

PY - 2018/1/1

Y1 - 2018/1/1

N2 - Objective: Examine how the physical cafeteria environment contributes to 6- to 8-year-olds’ school food consumption. Design: Cross-sectional observational study. Before-and-after lunch tray photos taken with iPads to capture food selection and consumption. Setting: 10 New York City public elementary school cafeterias. Participants: A total of 382 students aged 6–8 years who ate lunch in the cafeteria on observation days. Main Outcome Measures: Fruit, vegetable, or whole-grain consumption. Analysis: Pearson's chi-square and multivariate logistic regression assessed associations between cafeteria environmental factors (time to eat lunch, noise, and crowding) and vegetable, fruit, and/or whole-grain consumption with 95% confidence, adjusted for school-level demographics and clustered by school. Results: Approximately 70% of students selected fruits, vegetables, and/or whole grains. When selected, consumption was 25%, 43%, and 57%, respectively. Longer time to eat lunch was associated with higher consumption of fruits (odds ratio [OR] = 2.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1–3.8; P =.02) and whole grains (OR = 2.1; 95% CI, 1.003–4.2; P <.05). Quieter cafeterias were associated with eating more vegetables (OR = 3.9; 95% CI, 1.8–8.4; P <.001) and whole grains (OR = 2.7; 95% CI, 2.6–4.7; P <.001). Less crowding was associated with eating more fruit (OR = 2.3; 95% CI, 1.03–5.3; P =.04) and whole grains (OR = 3.3; 95% CI, 1.9–5.6; P <.001). Conclusions and Implications: Healthy food consumption by 6- to 8-year-old students is associated with cafeteria crowding, noise, and time to eat lunch. Implementing and enforcing changes to the cafeteria environment mandated by wellness policies may reduce plate waste.

AB - Objective: Examine how the physical cafeteria environment contributes to 6- to 8-year-olds’ school food consumption. Design: Cross-sectional observational study. Before-and-after lunch tray photos taken with iPads to capture food selection and consumption. Setting: 10 New York City public elementary school cafeterias. Participants: A total of 382 students aged 6–8 years who ate lunch in the cafeteria on observation days. Main Outcome Measures: Fruit, vegetable, or whole-grain consumption. Analysis: Pearson's chi-square and multivariate logistic regression assessed associations between cafeteria environmental factors (time to eat lunch, noise, and crowding) and vegetable, fruit, and/or whole-grain consumption with 95% confidence, adjusted for school-level demographics and clustered by school. Results: Approximately 70% of students selected fruits, vegetables, and/or whole grains. When selected, consumption was 25%, 43%, and 57%, respectively. Longer time to eat lunch was associated with higher consumption of fruits (odds ratio [OR] = 2.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1–3.8; P =.02) and whole grains (OR = 2.1; 95% CI, 1.003–4.2; P <.05). Quieter cafeterias were associated with eating more vegetables (OR = 3.9; 95% CI, 1.8–8.4; P <.001) and whole grains (OR = 2.7; 95% CI, 2.6–4.7; P <.001). Less crowding was associated with eating more fruit (OR = 2.3; 95% CI, 1.03–5.3; P =.04) and whole grains (OR = 3.3; 95% CI, 1.9–5.6; P <.001). Conclusions and Implications: Healthy food consumption by 6- to 8-year-old students is associated with cafeteria crowding, noise, and time to eat lunch. Implementing and enforcing changes to the cafeteria environment mandated by wellness policies may reduce plate waste.

KW - Cafeteria environment

KW - child nutrition

KW - school lunch

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