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J Sch Health. 2016 Aug;86(8):604-11. doi: 10.1111/josh.12413.

Evaluation of the LiveWell@School Food Initiative Shows Increases in Scratch Cooking and Improvement in Nutritional Content.

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DePaul University, Master of Public Health Program, 1 East Jackson Boulevard, Mailstop - Master of Public Health, Daley 710, Chicago, IL 60604.
Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition, 8401 West Dodge Road, Suite 100, Omaha, NE 68114.
LiveWell Colorado, 1490 Lafayette Street, Suite 104, Denver, CO 80218.
Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition, 8401 West Dodge Road, Suite 100, Omaha, NE 68114.



The purpose of this evaluation was to examine the effects of the LiveWell@School Food Initiative (LW@SFI), a Colorado-based childhood obesity prevention program that partners with school districts to enable them to serve more scratch cooked foods through culinary training, action planning, and equipment grants.


This evaluation used a quasi-experimental design that examined menu cycles prior to entering the LW@SFI and approximately 1 year later. A review of school menus with food service directors from 9 Colorado school districts was conducted.


Data show that districts changed an average of 17.4 entrées and 19.7 side dishes over the course of the year. Changes to serving scratch cooked foods were highest for sauces (an increase of 40.5%). No districts were cooking beans/legumes from scratch during baseline or at follow-up. Across the 9 districts, 7 observed statistically significant pre-post reductions in sodium, 4 in fat, 5 in saturated fat, and 3 in calories.


Within a year of implementing the LW@SFI, school districts increased the proportion of fresh, scratch cooked foods they offered and this was associated with some decreases in calories, fat, saturated fat, and sodium, contributing to healthier school food environments.


child health; nutrition and diet; obesity prevention; school health

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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