Please note that this study was published before the implementation of Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which went into effect during the 2012-13 school year, and its provision for Smart Snacks Nutrition Standards for Competitive Food in Schools, implemented during the 2014-15 school year. As such, certain research may not be relevant today.
Another year is moving along very quickly as school districts work on providing children healthy meals and developing wellness policies and food safety programs. Training programs for foodservice professionals abound, and these and other resources continue to be developed to help prepare operators to address new program requirements. I am glad that you chose to take a few minutes to check out the current issue of The Journal of Child Nutrition & Management.
This issue of the Journal addresses many important topics in child nutrition today, ranging from outsourcing and wellness policies to nutrition education and food safety. Hopefully the practical application of this research will be valuable to your organization. For example, one article examines decisions that some school districts have made regarding the self-operation or outsourcing of their school nutrition programs. Many school administrators are not aware of various factors that must be taken into consideration when making such a decision. Sackin provides legislative references, analyzes the pros and cons of each type of operation, and discusses concerns related to this critical issue.
The Research in Action articles focus on applied research that can provide pertinent information to school foodservice operations. McDonnell, Probart, and Weirich examine the perceptions and concerns of school nutrition directors in Pennsylvania about their local wellness policies. These directors, who manage the development, implementation and enforcement of their district wellness policies, are apprehensive about their own lack of knowledge concerning policy writing and curriculum issues, and they are disturbed by the perception that they lack authority and are viewed as the “food police.”
L. Lambert and Carr surveyed school nutrition directors, teachers, and principals in Arkansas and Utah in order to determine perceptions of nutrition education practices in elementary schools. All three groups agree that nutrition education is valuable, but feel that their ability to support such endeavors are hampered due to inadequate funding. Cranage, Conklin, and C. Lambert examined high school students’ satisfaction when nutrition information was posted at the point of selection. They discovered that student satisfaction was higher when nutrition information was available.
Huang, Lee, and Shanklin evaluated a free school breakfast program in St. Joseph, Missouri. They found that school breakfast participation almost doubled and student attendance increased in schools where a free breakfast was offered. Their research provides a model for evaluating similar programs adopted by other school districts.
A National Food Service Management Institute study examined state requirements for food safety certification and the role that state agencies had in providing food safety training. Thirty- five state agencies have provided food safety training in the past two years and it appears that the number is increasing due to new food safety requirements. State agencies identified that support is necessary for training, including educational resources for basic food safety and Hazard
Analysis and Critical Control Point procedures. There is a need, as well, for diverse audiences and financial resources for the development and delivery of training.
I hope that you will find this issue of The Journal of Child Nutrition & Management valuable to you, your school district, and your research. I would encourage you to let us know how you use the published information and provide us with any research needs that you have in your district. We want the Journal to become a resource that supports your efforts to improve the quality of nutrition services provided to your students.
Jeannie Sneed, PhD, RD, CFSP, SFNS