Description: Childhood obesity in America is reaching epidemic proportions. This study explored whether daily online lunch menu information was sufficient to enable parents to advise their children about healthy and unhealthy menu choices in 350 Texas middle schools and whether online menu information strongly correlated with the descriptions of the offerings given by 52 school cafeteria managers in telephone interviews. Although schools are making efforts to describe their offerings, they are not vigorously taking advantage of the opportunity to aggressively inform or educate. They are not coding their descriptions in such a way as to explicitly brand food as healthy or unhealthy. They are also not labeling food as generally required by law for consumer services that provide food (except for the fresh produce that lines supermarket shelves). Instead, they only briefly describe what they are serving in the way of fruit in one or two word snippets. Finally, cafeteria managers’ online descriptions were inconsistent with what they described in interviews. Online and verbal descriptions were sometimes contradictory, raising questions about the accuracy of either type of description.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Paschal, Ryan Tyler