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Child Obes. 2012 Aug;8(4):339-46. doi: 10.1089/chi.2012.0009.

Does competitive food and beverage legislation hurt meal participation or revenues in high schools?

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  • 1Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Center for Weight & Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94704, USA.



There is limited evidence to evaluate the influence of competitive food and beverage legislation on school meal program participation and revenues.


A representative sample of 56 California high schools was recruited to collect school-level data before (2006–2007) and the year after (2007–2008) policies regarding limiting competitive foods and beverages were required to be implemented. Data were obtained from school records, observations, and questionnaires. Paired t-tests assessed significance of change between the two time points.


Average participation in lunch increased from 21.7% to 25.3% (p < 0.001), representing a 17.0% increase, while average participation in breakfast increased from 8.9% to 10.3% (p = 0.02), representing a 16.0% increase. There was a significant (23.0%) increase in average meal revenue, from $0.70 to $0.86 (per student per day) (p < 0.001). There was a nonsignificant decrease (18.0%) in average sales from à la carte foods, from $0.45 to $0.37 (per student per day). Compliance with food and beverage standards also increased significantly. At end point, compliance with beverage standards was higher (71.0%) than compliance with food standards (65.7%).


Competitive food and beverage legislation can increase food service revenues when accompanied by increased rates of participation in the meal program. Future studies collecting expense data will be needed to determine impact on net revenues.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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