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J Sch Nurs. 2019 Aug;35(4):248-255. doi: 10.1177/1059840518762517. Epub 2018 Mar 21.

Access to Fresh Fruits and Vegetables in School Lunches: A Policy Analysis.

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1 Department of Women, Children and Family Health Science, College of Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago, Champaign, IL, USA.
2 Department of Health Systems Science, College of Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago, Champaign, IL, USA.


Consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables helps to reduce childhood obesity and improves academic achievement and attendance. However, providing fresh fruits and vegetables is challenging for some schools due to cost, administrative burden, and concern for food waste. To address these challenges, the Fruit and Vegetable Access for Children Act proposes to allow federally funded programs to substitute fresh fruits and vegetables with canned, frozen, or pureed versions. In this policy analysis, we propose options for providing fresh fruits and vegetables to children enrolled in the National School Lunch Program. We recommend that school nurses actively facilitate the process of obtaining fresh fruits and vegetables by being appointed members of Team Nutrition giving them authority to collaborate with local famers, entrepreneurs, and land-grant universities in Farm to School Programs. This strategy empowers school nurses in promoting healthy eating habits, reducing obesity, and improving academic performance and school attendance.


National School Lunch Program; health/wellness; nutrition; obesity; policy analysis; school nurse education


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