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J Sch Health. 2014 Mar;84(3):212-9. doi: 10.1111/josh.12133.

A food service intervention improves whole grain access at lunch in rural elementary schools.

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  • 1Research Fellow, (, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.



Whole grain (WG) options are often limited in schools, which may impact rural, low-income students who rely on school meals for a substantial portion of their food intake. This study examined the changes in the availability and quantity of WG and refined grain foods offered in schools participating in the Creating Healthy, Active and Nurturing Growing-up Environments (CHANGE) study, a randomized, controlled intervention among rural communities (4 intervention and 4 control).


Foods were assessed using production records, recipes, and nutrition labels from breakfast and lunch over 1 week during fall 2008 and spring 2009. Key informant interviews were conducted with school food service directors in the spring 2009.


The CHANGE intervention schools significantly increased the average percent of school days WGs were offered (p = .047) and the amount of WGs offered/food item (ounces) at lunch compared with control schools (p = .02). There was a significant decrease in the percent of students with access to refined grains at lunch compared with control schools (p = .049), although there were no significant differences in WG availability during breakfast.


The CHANGE schools improved WG availability, enabling student's WG consumption to be closer to national recommendations.

© 2014, American School Health Association.


school food service; whole grain

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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