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West Virginia School Nutrition Standards

Evidence Summary

Underlying Logic:

The school food environment is an important source of nutrition for many children.   It is a place where children spend about one-third of their day so an improvement in the school food environment is likely to lead to improved dietary behaviors.   This environment seems particularly important for youth, who qualify for free and reduced breakfast and lunch, as some research has shown that children who participate in school meal programs have better nutrition than those who do not.

Strategies Used1:   West Virginia's nutrition standards include the following evidence-based strategies for healthy eating:

Research Findings or Evaluation Outcomes:  

The West Virginia Office of Child Nutrition contracts with West Virginia University (WVU) to conduct annual evaluations of the nutrition standards.   Methodology for Year One Evaluation included surveying 1,500 parents, 420 students, 53 food service directors, 53 county school superintendents, 601 principals, and 231 school nurses about the extent to which the policy was being implemented and changes in student food and beverage consumption.   Only Year One Evaluation data were available at the time of this review.

West Virginia's nutrition standards were reviewed for outcomes related to: 1) Implementation of the policy at the school-level and 2) Behavioral change at the student-level.  

The Year One Evaluation data from the WVU report indicate that:

  • 85% of county food service directors reported that at least 75% of the policy requirements have been implemented at their schools.   Only 2% reported less than 25% implementation.

  • Parents reported that their child drank an average of 0.5 glasses of soda on the day before the interview, a significant decrease from 0.6 glasses the previous year.

  • Students reported eating an average of 1.8 servings of vegetables on the day before the interview, a significant increase from 1.6 servings the previous year.

  • Students reported drinking an average of 1.7 servings of milk on the day before the interview, a significant increase from 1.4 servings the previous year.

  • 22% of students reported eating the recommended number of fruit and vegetable servings on the day before the interview, a significant increase from 16% the previous year.

1  A full description of the intervention strategies  used can be found here  with references to  the sources of evidence to support the strategies.