School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study
The latest School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study is out: http://www.fns.usda.gov/ora/MENU/Published/CNP/cnp.htm.
It provides a comparison of the nutritional quality of school meals between SY 2009−2010, SY 2004−2005, and SY 1998−1999.
Here are a few highlights from the study:
- The study shows that most schools (85%) offered lunches that met standards for key nutrients (protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron).
- Among elementary schools, the percentage of schools that served average lunches that met the SMI standard for saturated fat increased from 34% in SY 2004-2005 to 53% in SY 2009–2010. For secondary schools, the percentage of schools meeting the standard almost doubled—from 24% in SY 2004-2005 to 46% in SY 2009–2010.
- Schools have not made progress toward meeting the sodium target over time. At all three points in time, less than 10% of elementary or secondary schools served lunches with an average sodium content that was within 200 mg of the recommended maximum.
- Average NSLP lunches were low in whole grains, providing 6 to 10 percent of recommended daily amounts. The average lunch offered in all three types of schools provided more than one-third of recommended amounts of fruits (42 to 50 percent). The amount of fruit in the average NSLP lunch served was notably smaller (22 to 32 percent of recommended amounts), suggesting that many students did not include a serving of fruit in their lunches. On average, lunches as offered provided about 30 percent of recommended daily amounts of vegetables; as served, NSLP lunches provided about one-quarter of recommended daily amounts of vegetables.
- Competitive foods were widely available in schools, especially in secondary schools; 82% of elementary schools, 95% of middle schools, and 90% of high schools had a la carte offerings available at lunch. Vending machines were widely available in high schools (85%), somewhat less common in middle schools (67%), and rare in elementary schools (13%).
- More than 80% of school districts had a ban or restriction related to sweetened beverages and more than 75% had a ban or restriction related to snack foods.