Date of Award

1-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Food, Nutrition, and Culinary Science

Advisor

Cason, Katherine L

Committee Member

Griffin , Sarah

Committee Member

Northcutt , Julie

Abstract

In South Carolina (SC), children aged 10-17 are ranked 13th in the United States for overweight and obesity (33.7%) according to the National Survey of Children's Health 2007. Fruit and vegetable intake in children and adolescents in the United States is below recommended levels (Lorson, Melgar-Quinonez, & Taylor, 2009). In SC, only 15% of the high school students consume fruits and vegetables five or more times per day. Fruit and vegetable consumption has been associated with reduced risk of chronic diseases (Epstein et al., 2001; Knai, Pomerleau, Lock, & McKee, 2006; Reichmann, 2009). Schools are identified as a key setting for public health strategies to lower or prevent the prevalence of overweight and obese youth (Story, Nanney, & Schwartz, 2009).
Farm to School is a nationwide program that connects schools (k-12) and local farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, improving student nutrition, providing education opportunities on agriculture, health and nutrition, and supporting local and regional farmers. In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded a two-year statewide pilot program in South Carolina. In general, the main goal of the Farm to School program in the cafeteria is to source, prepare, serve and promote consumption of local foods. School food service directors and school food service managers play an important role in accomplishing the program goals.
A total of 27 surveys were sent to school food service directors and 49 surveys went to school service managers in South Carolina. The overall response rate was 70.4% (n=19) and a 61.2% (n=30) for school food service directors and school food service managers respectively. Food service staff expressed knowledge of the 2011-2012 South Carolina Farm to School Program activities and support for it as well. The main opportunities found were the capabilities and abilities of the food service staff, as well as kitchen facilities and equipment. In addition, the results indicated that the technical assistance provided by the regional coordinators was very useful for implementation of the program in the school cafeteria. According to survey responses, the most frequent motivators for directors were: access to fresher fruits and vegetables and usage of higher-quality food. For the managers, motivators to implement the program included students eating better at schools and the possibility of obesity and overweight rates being reduced. The most frequent barriers and concerns expressed by respondents were inadequate availability of fruits and vegetables due to seasonality and finding local farmers to purchase from.

Included in

Nutrition Commons

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