Nutrition Report Cards: An Opportunity to Improve School Lunch Selection
PLoS ONE 8(10): e72008 (2013)
4 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2014
Date Written: October 2, 2013
Objective: To explore the feasibility and implementation efficiency of Nutritional Report Cards (NRCs) in helping children make healthier food choices at school. Methods: Pilot testing was conducted in a rural New York school district (K-12). Over a five-week period, 27 parents received a weekly e-mail containing a NRC listing how many meal components (fruits, vegetables, starches, milk), snacks, and a-la-carte foods their child selected. We analyzed choices of students in the NRC group vs. the control group, both prior to and during the intervention period. Point-of-sale system data for a-la-carte items was analyzed using Generalized Least Squares regressions with clustered standard errors.
Results: NRCs encouraged more home conversations about nutrition and more awareness of food selections. Despite the small sample, the NRC was associated with reduced selection of some items, such as the percentage of those selecting cookies which decreased from 14.3 to 6.5 percent. Additionally, despite requiring new keys on the check-out registers to generate the NRC, checkout times increased by only 0.16 seconds per transaction, and compiling and sending the NRCs required a total weekly investment of 30 minutes of staff time.
Conclusions: This test of concept suggests that NRCs are a feasible and inexpensive tool to guide children towards healthier choices.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation