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Am J Public Health. 2010 May;100(5):925-32. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2008.158907. Epub 2009 Oct 15.

Impact of an organizational intervention designed to improve snack and beverage quality in YMCA after-school programs.

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Department of Society, Human Development, and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, USA.



We evaluated the quality of snacks and beverages served at YMCA after-school programs before and after the programs' participation in a YMCA Learning Collaborative.


We collected data on the types and brands of snacks and beverages (including fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, foods with trans fats, water, and sugar-sweetened beverages) served daily during 3 different time periods spanning 14 months in total, and the components of the healthy eating standards. We compared snack and beverage quality before and after the intervention.


Weekly servings of fresh fruits and vegetables (1.3 vs 3.9; P = .02) and weekly servings of fruits and vegetables as a whole (1.9 vs 5.2; P = .009) increased from baseline to postintervention; weekly servings of desserts (1.3 vs 0.5; P = .049), foods with added sugars (3.9 vs 2.4; P = .03), and foods containing trans fats (2.6 vs 0.7; P = .01) decreased. After the intervention, all YMCAs offered water daily, and none served sugar-sweetened beverages. The percentage of calories from fruits and vegetables significantly increased after the intervention, whereas the percentage of calories from foods containing trans fats and added sugars decreased.


A learning collaborative can disseminate healthy eating standards among participating organizations and facilitate improvements in the quality of after-school snacks and beverages.

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