Title

The Pathways study: a model for lowering the fat in school meals.

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-1-1999

Abstract

We describe the development and implementation of the Pathways school food service intervention during the feasibility phase of the Pathways study. The purpose of the intervention was to lower the amount of fat in school meals to 30% of energy to promote obesity prevention in third- through fifth-grade students. The Pathways nutrition staff and the food service intervention staff worked together to develop 5 interrelated components to implement the intervention. These components were nutrient guidelines, 8 skill-building behavioral guidelines, hands-on materials, twice yearly trainings, and monthly visits to the kitchens by the Pathways nutrition staff. The components were developed and implemented over 18 mo in a pilot intervention in 4 schools. The results of an initial process evaluation showed that 3 of the 4 schools had implemented 6 of the 8 behavioral guidelines. In an analysis of 5 d of school menus from 3 control schools, the lunch menus averaged from 34% to 40% of energy from fat; when the menus were analyzed by using the food preparation and serving methods in the behavioral guidelines, they averaged 31% of energy from total fat. This unique approach of 5 interrelated food service intervention components was accepted in the schools and is now being implemented in the full-scale phase of the Pathways study in 40 schools for 5 y.

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