Examination of the food and nutrient content of school lunch menus of two school districts in Mississippi

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2006 Sep;3(3):278-85. doi: 10.3390/ijerph2006030034.


This study examined the diet quality of the school meals in two Mississippi school districts and compared them to the national guidelines. We examined the lunch menus of the two school districts that participated in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program focusing on food quality and assessing both healthy and unhealthy foods and eating behaviors. This analysis was completed through a computerized review used to accurately determine the nutrient content. Both the standard and the alternative meals provided by the cafeterias in the two school districts exceeded the minimum requirement for calories for all grade levels. The meals from the urban schools cafeteria provide more calories than meals from the cafeteria in the rural school district. Although schools believe that they are making positive changes to children's diets, the programs are falling short of the nutrient recommendations. Poor nutrition and improper dietary practices are now regarded as important risk factors in the emerging problems of obesity, diabetes mellitus, hypertension and other chronic diseases, with excessive energy intake listed as a possible reason. Dieticians, school professionals and other health care practitioners need to accurately assess energy intake and adequately promote a dietary responsible lifestyle among children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Menu Planning*
  • Mississippi
  • Nutritive Value*
  • Restaurants