School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study: Study Design, Sampling, and Data Collection (Summary)

School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study: Study Design, Sampling, and Data Collection (Summary)

Published: Apr 30, 2019
Publisher: Alexandria, VA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Office of Policy Support
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Associated Project

The School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study (SNMCS)

Time frame: 2013-2019

Prepared for:

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service

Clients
USDA
Authors

Nicholas Beyler

Elizabeth Gearan

Katherine Niland

Liana Washburn

Barbara Carlson

David Judkins

Lindsey LeClair

Michele Mendelson

Tara Wommack

Justin Carnagey

Maureen Murphy

Andre Williamson

The School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study (SNMCS) addressed a broad array of research questions grouped under four research objectives:

  1. Describe School Food Authority (SFA) and school environments, foodservice operating policies and practices, student participation, and other characteristics of SFAs and schools participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP).
  2. Determine the food and nutrient content of school meals and afterschool snacks and overall nutritional quality of the meals.
  3. Determine the cost to produce reimbursable school meals (including indirect and local administrative costs) and examine ratios of revenues to costs.
  4. Describe and assess student characteristics, participation, student/parent satisfaction (including plate waste), and dietary intake.

To address the research questions, the study collected a broad range of data from nationally representative samples of public SFAs, schools, students and parents in School Year (SY) 2014–2015. In addition, data were collected on the types and amounts of food wasted (plate waste) in reimbursable lunches and breakfasts served to or selected by students. Findings from the extensive analyses of data collected in the SNMCS are presented in four report volumes and a summary report. This methodology report describes the design of the SNMCS, as well as sampling, recruitment, data collection, and data processing procedures.

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