As the leaves start to turn colors here in Iowa, I am reminded of the impending winter while marveling at the beauty of the season. Generally, this would be a time of fall related activities in schools but we continue to remain focused on needed adjustments and flexibility while supply chain disruptions and employee shortages loom. Research provides us opportunity to study this unique time in history, learn from the results we find in our research, and make potential impacts that go well beyond this month, this year, or even this decade. To this end, I want to remind all readers about our upcoming Special Issue on Alternative Models of Service and Delivery in Child Nutrition Programs. I encourage you and your colleagues to submit an article as a 1) Commentary, 2) Current Issue, 3) Practical Solution, 4) Research in Action, or 5) Research Briefs. More information may be found at the following link: Request for Proposals (schoolnutrition.org)
Recognition Of Reviews
Each year, the Journal recognizes those who serve as peer reviewers. Manuscripts that are submitted to the Journal and meet submission criteria (as identified in the Contribution Guidelines) go through a rigorous peer-review process whereby a blinded review is completed by at least two individuals. These reviewers hold expertise in research design, research methods, and content specific areas. Many of our reviewers are also child nutrition practitioners and assess the practical and applicable value of the research. Without these amazing individuals, we could not do it. We are currently seeking additional qualified reviewers to add to our reviewer pool. If you are interested or know of someone who is interested, please contact me at my email listed below.
In This Issue
This issue of the Journal has three Research in Action articles. In the first article, Spruance et. al looked at anti-shaming policies and assessed amount of unpaid meals based on these policies. Their results indicated no relationship between the strength of anti-shaming policies and meal debt. In their article, Lovy and Reicks utilized data from the School Health Policies and Program Study (SHPPS) and assessed involvement in Farm to School activities based on school district characteristics. These characteristics were aspects such as director credentials, district location, and management type. Findings indicated that those districts where the director had a degree in food and nutrition had greater participation in farm to school related activities. Chang and colleagues assessed changes in school kitchens made when a statewide grant funded program was implemented to support transition from fryers to combination ovens. The removal of fryers and installation of combination ovens resulted in additional infrastructure needs including, but not limited to, physical space, electrical capacity, plumbing, ventilation, and remodeling.
The Current Issues looks at the use of food as a reward for school children. Discussion regarding the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, school wellness policies, and role of educators and school staff illustrate the complexities when addressing this situation. Rather than providing food rewards, Rosenkranz and colleagues provide alternative solutions such as teacher training to support “behavior-specific praise, physical activity breaks, and effective use of non-food rewards”.
Dr. Lartey supplied an update of ICN, ARD projects highlighting three projects. One of these established a COVID-19 Taskforce. This Taskforce carried out research investigating experiences of directors and staff during the pandemic, identifying barriers to meal preparation and providing training to support directors. One of the notable findings from this work was that directors noted the pandemic “brought their team closer together”.
Lastly, Research Poster abstracts from the 2021 School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference held virtually, are provided. I attended these virtual presentations and commend all in their dedication to advancing child nutrition research efforts.