In year four, the research objective was to test the impact of implementing fewer Smarter Lunchrooms protocol items, and food service ownership of Smarter Lunchrooms intervention, on the selection and consumption of fruits, vegetables, and while milk in middle schools. This objective was based on previous process evaluation findings of varying implementation fidelity.
In partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension, 18 middle schools from urban districts in Upstate New York participated in the project during the spring 2016 semester. Schools were allocated into three groups: selection, matched/ assigned, and control. Selection schools created their own intervention from a list of protocols; matched/ assigned schools were matched with selection school based on practices, and assigned same protocols; and control schools made no changes to existing set up. The schools selected or were assigned two Smarter Lunchroom protocols from each category (fruits, vegetables, white milk), for a total of six protocols. Each protocol was targeted at increasing the convenience, visibility, and attractiveness of fruits, vegetables, and white milk.
Selection, waste, and consumption of food items were measured by trained researchers using the quarter-waste method of visual estimation to determine tray waste. Results were compared between treatment and control schools.
Conclusions and Implications
Preliminary results show allowing schools to choose their own protocols had a greater impact on the selection and consumption of fruits, compared to the schools who were told what protocols to implement. Further analyses are ongoing to compare selection schools with their matched counterparts, along with the inclusion of process data. This will allow us to evaluate the impact of implementation fidelity on the intervention results.
© 2017 Published by Elsevier Inc.