alexa The Role of School Foodservice Personnel in Nutrition Education: Challenges and Opportunities at U.S. Elementary Schools
ISSN: 2380-5439

Journal of Health Education Research & Development
Open Access

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Research Article

The Role of School Foodservice Personnel in Nutrition Education: Challenges and Opportunities at U.S. Elementary Schools

Thushanthi Perera1, Simone Frei1, Balz Frei1, Siew Sun Wong2 and Gerd Bobe1*
1Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA
2College of Family & Community Health, Oregon State University Corvallis, Oregon, USA
Corresponding Author : Gerd Bobe
Linus Pauling Institute
Oregon State University
307 Linus Pauling Science Center
Corvallis, Oregon, 97331, USA
Tel: (541) 737-1898
E-mail: [email protected]
Received: August 18, 2015 Accepted: August 27, 2015 Published: August 29, 2015
Citation: Perera T, Frei S, Frei B, Wong SS, Bobe G (2015) The Role of School Foodservice Personnel in Nutrition Education: Challenges and Opportunities at U.S. Elementary Schools. J Health Edu Res Dev 3:133. doi:10.4172/2380-5439.1000133
Copyright: © 2015 Perera T, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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Abstract

The food environment at school plays an important role in promoting healthy food choices in students. In our previous study, classroom teachers were concerned about some of the meal options offered at their school cafeteria and wanted a school cafeteria component as part of a successful nutrition education program. In response, our first objective was to evaluate the nutritional quality of school meals at Oregon elementary schools. We learned that unless students ate the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables from the salad bar, school menus did not meet the nutrition standards for fruits (99%) and vegetables (100%). As the second objective, we asked Oregon elementary school foodservice personnel (SFP) in a cross-sectional, anonymous mail survey if and how they should be involved in nutrition education programs. Of the 59 SFP who responded, all perceived that nutrition education in elementary schools is somewhat to very important and 76% perceived that they should be involved in a successful nutrition education program. They were interested in nutrition education training (75%) but noted multiple barriers for incorporating the school cafeteria into nutrition education programs, the primary were cost (66%), time (58%), and potential teaching commitments. SFP wanted to be involved in nutrition education through nutrition posters in the cafeteria (58%) and new recipes and food items (56%). In conclusion, SFP are highly motivated to participate in nutrition education programs through activities in the school cafeteria that do not involve teaching. Renewed focus should be on developing and implementing nutrition education programs that provide SFP with training and new recipes and food items that are nutritious, affordable, easy and quick to prepare, and appealing to students so that nutrition information delivered in the classroom can be reinforced in the school cafeteria.

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