Objective: To compare changes in nutrient levels of school meals before and after implementation of nutrition interventions at five school districts in two, large U.S. counties. School menu changes were compared against national school meal recommendations. Methods: A large urban school district in Los Angeles County (LAC), California and four school districts in suburban Cook County (SCC), Illinois implemented school meal nutrition interventions. Nutrition analyses were conducted for school breakfast and lunch before and after changes were made to the meal programs. Means, % change, and net calories (kilocalories or kcal) offered as a result of the nutrition interventions were calculated. Results: School districts in both counties made district-wide changes in their school breakfast and lunch menus. Menu changes resulted in a net reduction of calories, sugar, and sodium content offered in the meals. Net fewer calories offered as a result of the nutrition interventions were estimated to be about 64,075. kcal per student per year for LAC and 22,887. kcal per student per year for SCC. Conclusions: Nutrition interventions can have broad reach through changes in menu offerings to school-aged children and adolescents. However, further research is needed to examine how these changes affect student food selection and consumption. •School-based nutrition interventions were implemented in LA County and Cook County.•Reduced calories, sugar, and sodium content in school meals were achieved.•About 688,197 students were affected by the menu changes.
- Child nutrition
- Nutrition assessment
- Nutrition policy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health