Hamburger, hold the cheese, please. School foodservice directors looking for ways to subtly persuade students to choose more healthful options might be interested in a recent study published in the Journal of Child Nutrition & Management, a publication of the School Nutrition Association (SNA).
Researchers reviewed menu choices at six Pennsylvania high schools to determine whether or not students change their food choices based on the availability of nutrition information posted at the point of selection (POS).
For six weeks programs ran as usual. For the following six week, nutrition information for more popular items, such as pizza and burgers, was posted.
Did it change student's minds? The answer: Yes, with many students making more healthful menu selections when the information was posted.
At one school, an average of 380 pepperoni pizzas were ordered each day during the initial six-week period. During the time the information was posted only 346 pepperoni pizzas were ordered. The results were similar across the other schools.
Is this a potential step forward in the fight against childhood obesity? If students have access to nutritional information and the results show they are inclined to make more informed choices, it's a start.
Greg Hummell, foodservice director for the Derry Township School District, one of the schools participating in the study, reported that he plans to offer nutritional information for eight to twelve of the school's standard entrees starting in the fall.