Author(s): Cho H, Nadow MZ
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Abstract Food services and nutrition education are priorities for the Coordinated School Health Program in Massachusetts, which is a CDC funded partnership between the Massachusetts Departments of Education and Public Health. Despite funding and resources provided by governmental and non-governmental agencies, schools are facing barriers in effectively creating a healthy nutritional environment. A qualitative survey was conducted to understand barriers to implementing quality lunch and nutrition education programs perceived by superintendents, principals, food service directors, nurses, and health educators in Massachusetts. The results suggest that while funding can initially enable schools to provide quality lunch, but without changes in students' preference for unhealthy food and parental and community involvement in fostering students' healthy eating behavior, the lunch programs cannot achieve a sustainable success. Lack of opportunity for communication among food service staff, health educators, and teachers appears to hinder the coordination necessary to promote school lunch as well as school-wide nutrition education. Respondents acknowledged that the state's academic assessment system is the priority issue in their schools, but expressed that the interests and initiatives of superintendents and principals in the lunch and nutrition education programs can be enhanced. Overall, the results suggest that successful implementation of quality lunch and nutrition education programs require not only the collaborative efforts of school administration and staff but also the support of parents, community, and the mass media.
This article was published in J Community Health
and referenced in Journal of Health Education Research & Development