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Am J Public Health. 2010 Nov;100(11):2137-45. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2010.193490. Epub 2010 Sep 23.

Lessons learned from evaluations of California's statewide school nutrition standards.

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  • 1Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Center for Weight & Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720-3100, USA.

Erratum in

  • Am J Public Health. 2011 Oct;101(10):1816.



We assessed the impact of legislation that established nutrition standards for foods and beverages that compete with reimbursable school meals in California.


We used documentation of available foods and beverages, sales accounts, and surveys of and interviews with students and food service workers to conduct 3 studies measuring pre- and postlegislation food and beverage availability, sales, and student consumption at 99 schools.


Availability of nutrition standard-compliant foods and beverages increased. Availability of noncompliant items decreased, with the biggest reductions in sodas and other sweetened beverages, regular chips, and candy. At-school consumption of some noncompliant foods dropped; at-home consumption of selected noncompliant foods did not increase. Food and beverage sales decreased at most venues, and food service à la carte revenue losses were usually offset by increased meal program participation. Increased food service expenditures outpaced revenue increases.


Regulation of competitive foods improved school food environments and student nutritional intake. Improvements were modest, partly because many compliant items are fat- and sugar-modified products of low nutritional value. Additional policies and actions are needed to achieve more substantive improvements in school nutrition environments and student nutrition and health.

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