An Evaluation of the School Lunch Initiative
by Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins of the Center for Weight and Health at the University of California at Berkeley, September 2010.
Commissioned by the Chez Panisse Foundation, the study followed 238 students from fourth and fifth grade into middle school during the years 2006 to 2009. The goal was to determine the effect of the School Lunch Initiative on students’ knowledge about nutrition, food, and the environment; attitudes toward healthy eating and environmental responsibility; and eating behaviors. The focus was to compare schools that offered cooking and gardening classes, which were integrated with classroom lessons and healthier meal choices, with those schools that did not. The study found schools with higher developed programs were more successful in getting students to increase their fruit and vegetable intake by nearly one-and-a-half servings per day.