The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends meal interventions and fruit and vegetable snack interventions to increase the availability of healthier foods and beverages provided by schools. This finding is based on evidence that they increase fruit and vegetable consumption and reduce or maintain the rate of obesity or overweight.
The Task Force has related findings for interventions to increase healthier foods and beverages in schools:
Meal interventions and fruit and vegetable snack interventions aim to provide healthier foods and beverages that are appealing to students, limit access to less healthy foods and beverages, or both.
Interventions must include one of the following components:
- School meal policies that ensure school breakfasts or lunches meet specific nutrition requirements (e.g., School Breakfast Program, National School Lunch Program)
- Fresh fruit and vegetable programs that provide fresh fruits and vegetables to students during lunch or snack
Interventions may also include one or more of the following:
- Healthy food and beverage marketing strategies:
- Placing healthier foods and beverages where they are easy for students to select
- Pricing healthier foods and beverages at a lower cost
- Setting up attractive displays of fruits and vegetables
- Offering taste tests of new menu items
- Posting signs or verbal prompts to promote healthier foods and beverages and new menu items
- Healthy eating learning opportunities, such as nutrition education and other strategies that give children knowledge and skills to choose and consume healthier foods and beverages
Healthier foods and beverages include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy, lean meats, beans, eggs, nuts, and items that are low in saturated fats, salt, and added sugars, and have no trans fats. Less-healthy foods and beverages include those with more added sugars, fats, and sodium.
Read the full Task Force Finding and Rationale Statement [PDF - 859 kB] for details including implementation issues, possible added benefits, potential harms, and evidence gaps.