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J Am Diet Assoc. 2002 Dec;102(12):1785-9.

School food policies and practices: a state-wide survey of secondary school principals.

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University of Minnesota, Division of Epidemiology, 1300 S Second St, Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55454-1015, USA.



To describe food-related policies and practices in secondary schools in Minnesota.


Mailed anonymous survey including questions about the secondary school food environment and food-related practices and policies.


Members of a statewide professional organization for secondary school principals (n = 610; response rate: 463/610 = 75%). Of the 463 surveys returned, 336 met the eligibility criteria (current position was either principal or assistant principal and school included at least one of the grades of 9 through 12).


Descriptive statistics examined the prevalence of specific policies and practices. Chi2 analysis examined associations between policies and practices and school variables.


Among principals, 65% believed it was important to have a nutrition policy for the high school; however, only 32% reported a policy at their school. Principals reported positive attitudes about providing a healthful school food environment, but 98% of the schools had soft drink vending machines and 77% had contracts with soft drink companies. Food sold at school fundraisers was most often candy, fruit, and cookies.


Dietetics professionals who work in secondary school settings should collaborate with other key school staff members and parents to develop and implement a comprehensive school nutrition policy. Such a policy could foster a school food environment that is supportive of healthful food choices among youth.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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