Full Article

The Journal of Child Nutrition and Management (JCNM) serves as a public online forum for relevant articles on research, current issues, and practical solutions related to operation of school nutrition (SN) programs.

Three Research in Action papers in this issue cover a wide variety of topics.

When Lee and associates researched the use of point-of-sale (POS) systems in school nutrition operations, they found that the vast majority of schools used an electronic POS system rather than paper-based.  They concluded, however, that challenges existed for both types of systems and that POS training should be provided regularly to SN staff.

Farm to School (F2S) programs that provide locally produced foods to schools have been touted as a strategy for increasing fruit/vegetable consumption and decreasing childhood obesity.  However, a limited study of 10 schools in Washington did not find significant differences in BMI-for-age between students at schools participating in F2S and schools that did not.

Mississippi Recipes for Success (MRS) is an example of a standardized recipe resource developed by a State Agency to assist SN directors in meeting requirements of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.  Bell and associates found that SN directors in Mississippi were highly satisfied with the MRS resource and its various features; thus MRS can serve as a template for other states wishing to develop similar resources.

Practical Solutions papers detail examples of resources and strategies that can aid SN directors.

Key Performance Indicators can be used in management of SN programs to monitor problem areas, identify where resources should be invested, and track progress of major initiatives.  A paper by Rushing describes Essential KPIs for School Nutrition Success, a new resource developed by the Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN) that is available online to SN directors.

Collaboration in purchasing can have many benefits for SN directors.  Rosenthal and associates details how the Focus Midwest Project benefited seven Midwest school districts by improving procurement processes and developing supportive relationships.

Landry and co-authors conducted a pilot F2S program that included nutrition education at a rural school and surveyed how student behaviors were impacted.  Their findings demonstrate the potential for an F2S program to increase awareness of the importance of fruit and vegetable consumption with elementary students.

Included in this November JCNM are abstracts of research posters presented at the 2017 Child Nutrition Showcase and Keith Rushing’s summary of four USDA-funded research projects conducted by ICN related to management of school nutrition programs.  This issue of JCNM also recognizes the valuable assistance of 36 qualified child nutrition professionals who reviewed manuscripts submitted during the past year.

Readers and future authors are reminded that JCNM is an online journal publishing articles related to the field of school/child nutrition programs twice yearly in May and November.  Abstracts for articles published in JCNM are currently listed in two databases:  AGRICOLA and ERIC.  Individuals wishing to submit manuscripts will find author guidelines for four categories of papers (Research in Action, Commentary, Current Issues, and Practical Solutions) posted on the School Nutrition Association website at https://schoolnurition.org/JCNM/ContributionReprintGuidelines/.  Submissions from international authors are welcome.

Carolyn Bednar, PhD, RDN