The association of the school food environment with dietary behaviors of young adolescents

Am J Public Health. 2003 Jul;93(7):1168-73. doi: 10.2105/ajph.93.7.1168.


Objectives: We examined the association between young adolescents' dietary behaviors and school vending machines, à la carte programs, and fried potatoes' being served at school lunch.

Methods: Using a cross-sectional study design, we measured à la carte availability and the number of school stores, vending machines, and amounts of fried potatoes served to students at school lunch in 16 schools. Grade 7 students (n = 598) completed 24-hour dietary recall interviews.

Results: A la carte availability was inversely associated with fruit and fruit/vegetable consumption and positively associated with total and saturated fat intake. Snack vending machines were negatively correlated with fruit consumption. Fried potatoes' being served at school lunch was positively associated with vegetable and fruit/vegetable intake.

Conclusions: School-based programs that aim to promote healthy eating among youths should target school-level environmental factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Adolescent Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Cooking
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Food Dispensers, Automatic / economics
  • Food Dispensers, Automatic / statistics & numerical data
  • Food Preferences*
  • Food Services / economics
  • Food Services / standards*
  • Fruit
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Minnesota
  • Schools / economics
  • Schools / standards*
  • Social Environment
  • Solanum tuberosum
  • Vegetables


  • Dietary Fats