NIFA Poster Abstract| Volume 49, ISSUE 7, SUPPLEMENT 1, S116, July 2017

Technology and Design Innovation to Support 21st Century School Nutrition


      To present new baseline data, report progress and preview lessons learned from an innovative, student-centered strategies based on behavioral economics to increase school lunch participation and intake of fruits and vegetables and reduce food waste by middle and high school students in the San Francisco Unified School District in California.


      Using a quasi-experimental controlled trial design, assess the 2-year impact of implementing a three-pronged intervention, involving a SmartMeal technology platform, distributed points of sale of school lunch, and staff promotion of school meals, on school lunch participation, intake of fruits and vegetables, and lunch waste by 7th-10th grade students from 12 middle and high schools compared to 12 control schools.


      The primary outcome is the difference in change over two years in average daily participation in school lunch between intervention and control schools. Average daily lunch participation at baseline was 6,685 students in middle schools and 10,693 students in high schools; 29% Latino, 9% African American, 49% Asian, 13% other. Use a linear regression model in order to adjust for school enrollment, free and reduced price school meal enrollment, and race/ethnic composition.

      Conclusions and Implications

      The intervention was delayed due to several factors likely characteristic of large school districts, leading to several valuable lessons learned for other districts seeking to implement similar strategies to increase participation in school meals. Preliminary data from distributed points of sale show promising increases in lunch participation.