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J Sch Health. 2017 Jan;87(1):29-35. doi: 10.1111/josh.12465.

Nutrition Quality of US School Snack Foods: A First Look at 2011-2014 Bid Records in 8 School Districts.

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Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, 722 West 168th Street, New York, NY 10032.
Alliance for Healthier Generation, 722 West 168th Street, New York, NY 10020.



As part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, snacks, and desserts sold in K-12 schools as of the 2014-2015 school year are required to meet the "Smart Snacks" nutritional guidelines. Although studies exist in tracking progress in local and national efforts, the proportion of snack food procured by school districts compliant with the Smart Snacks standard prior to its full implementation is unknown.


We repurposed a previously untapped database, Interflex, of public bid records to examine the nutritional quality of snacks and desserts procured by school districts. We selected 8 school districts with at least 90% complete data each year during 2011-2012, 2012-2013, and 2013-2014 school years and at locations across different regions of the United States. We quantified the amount of calories and sugar of each product contained in the won bids based on available online sources and determined whether the produce complied with Smart Snack guidelines.


In all 8 districts (snack expenditure analyzed ranging from $152,000 to $4.4 million), at least 50% of snack bids were compliant with the US Department of Agriculture Smart Snacks standard during the 2013-2014 school year. Across sampled districts, we observed a general trend in lower caloric density (kcal per product) and sugar density (grams of sugar per product) over a 3-year period.


Many districts across the country have made headway in complying with the Smart Snack guidelines, though gaps remain.


child and adolescent health; nutrition and diet; organization and administration of school health programs; school food services

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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