Food Choice and Waste in Texas Middle School Cafeterias View: 1 of 4
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Food Choice &
Middle School CafE
Introduction & methods
During winter/spring 2011 researchers at the University of North Texas
documented school meal choices by photographing lunch trays in
two Texas middle schools in a district that participated in the National
School Lunch Program (NSLP). The NSLP is a federally assisted meal
program that provides cash subsidies and U.S. Department
of Agriculture (USDA) foods to schools serving lunches that meet meal
requirements which, at the time of the photo shoot, were based
on meal components, such as vegetable or bread/grain, or on nutrient
standards, such as number of grams (g) of protein or milligrams (mg)
of calcium. The school district where the photo shoot took place used
Nutrient Standard Menu Planning (NSMP) and routinely analyzed
menus for nutritional compliance prior to service.
To match before/after images of lunch trays, address labels were
coded and attached to the upper left corner of unused Styrofoam
trays. Using three t-aerial camera apparatuses mounted on movable
carts investigators snapped pictures of lunches on labeled trays
as students exited the serving area. Images of trays were captured
after students ate lunch by moving the apparatuses to a common
doorway where students disposed of used trays and exited
the cafeteria. Photographs were edited and archived as pairs
on the University of North Texas Digital Library and analyzed using
a QualtricsTM online survey based on an image analysis protocol
standardized by the researchers.
Photographic sessions took place during 7th grade lunch between
January and April 2011. Six non-contiguous days of photo shoots
were completed at school one, and five days at school two.
This work was supported by a USDA Behavioral Economics Award [Number: 59-5000-0-0088]
and the University of North Texas Undergraduate Research Initiative.
Priscilla Connors, PhD RD, Department of Hospitality & Tourism Management, University of North Texas,
Denton TX. email@example.com
Kirby Sandifer, Designer. firstname.lastname@example.org
Combined, the middle
an average of 364
1,418 pairs of tray photos
taken before and after
lunch were analyzed
, African American
58% of students
receiving either free or
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Connors, Priscilla L. & Sandifer, Kirby. Food Choice and Waste in Texas Middle School Cafeterias, image, 2011; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271491/m1/1/: accessed October 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Arts and Sciences.