Editor's Note

Volume 36, Issue 1, Spring 2012

As the school nutrition community works together to implement the significant changes resulting from the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the Journal of Child Nutrition & Management is a useful resource for child nutrition professionals seeking research related to leading successful child nutrition programs.

In this issue of the Journal, research results on a variety of school nutrition initiatives and programs, including the Healthier US School Challenge (HUSSC) program, the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP), and the School Breakfast Program are provided. Contributions also include a study of the use of branding concepts to increase participation in school meals, and a case study of school nutrition directors achieving success, maintaining fiscal solvency while providing access to high quality, healthful foods.

Also in this issue, Snelling and colleagues provide a “Current Issues” contribution, focusing on the role of teachers in student health outcomes. The authors present survey results and information to promote action to engage teachers in nutrition and health programs for students.

Brown and colleagues present timely information regarding program changes resulting from participation in the HUSSC program, which recognizes schools that create healthier school environments by promoting nutrition and physical activity. Results suggest that school nutrition directors may improve nutritional quality of school lunches while maintaining or increasing lunch participation rates as a result of HUSSC program participation. Another positive benefit was an increase in nutrition education minutes per week. As school nutrition programs begin implementation of new menu planning requirements that are similar to the HUSSC nutrition standards, an important finding was that food cost and labor cost increased significantly.

Jamelske and Bica investigate the impact of the FFVP on children's fruit and vegetable consumption in elementary schools. Program schools are compared to controls, with findings indicating that students experienced a significant increase in fruit and vegetable intake for morning snack compared to control students. This result reinforces the importance and effectiveness of schools as a setting for providing children access to nutritious foods.

Cullen and colleagues identify factors influencing student school breakfast participation in middle schools. This contribution provides an example of formative research used to inform the development of a school intervention. The resulting intervention plan was then piloted, and compared to results in a control school. The intervention was successful in increasing the school breakfast participation rate by an impressive 242% in the intervention school.

Sacheck and colleagues use a case study approach to identify common elements in successful leadership of school nutrition programs. A multidisciplinary team, with diverse areas of expertise, present their findings and recommendations. As a result of their case study research, the authors conclude that strong and persistent leadership promoting financial and culinary creativity is critical to school nutrition program success in providing access to healthful foods for students and maintaining fiscal solvency.

Rushing and Asperin investigate the application of brand personality concepts at the high school level. School nutrition programs interested in increasing participation through marketing will find this study useful and informative.

This issue also includes the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service Research Corner. We appreciate John Endahl’s continuing contribution, providing information on recently completed and current research conducted by the Food and Nutrition Service in the area of child nutrition.

We look forward to your future contributions to the Journal of Child Nutrition and Management, and welcome your feedback and suggestions for topics in upcoming issues.

Sheri Zidenberg-Cherr, PhD                    
Executive Editor
Marilyn Briggs, PhD, RD, SNS

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