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Am J Public Health. 1998 Mar;88(3):427-33.

Promoting the selection of low-fat milk in elementary school cafeterias in an inner-city Latino community: evaluation of an intervention.

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Center for Health Promotion, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York City, USA.



This study examined the effects of a school-based intervention designed to promote the consumption of low-fat white milk at lunchtime in 6 elementary schools in an inner-city, primarily Latino neighborhood.


A multifaceted intervention based on social marketing techniques was delivered at 3 randomly selected schools. The school was the unit of assignment and analysis; 6902 children were involved in the study. Milk selection and consumption were measured by sampling discarded milk and/or tallying milk carton disappearance at baseline, immediately postintervention, and at 3 to 4 months follow-up.


Immediately postintervention, the mean proportion of sampled milk cartons that contained low-fat milk increased in the intervention schools, from 25% to 57%, but remained constant at 28% in the control schools. Differences between intervention and control schools remained significant at 3 to 4 months follow-up. The intervention was not associated with a decrease in overall milk consumption.


A school-based intervention can lead to significant increases in student consumption of low-fat milk.

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