Impact of portion-size control for school a la carte items: changes in kilocalories and macronutrients purchased by middle school students

J Am Diet Assoc. 2008 Jan;108(1):140-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2007.10.005.


We assessed the impact of a pilot middle school a la carte intervention on food and beverage purchases, kilocalories, fat, carbohydrate, and protein sold per student, and nutrient density of the foods sold. A la carte sales were obtained from six middle schools in three states for 1 baseline week and daily during the 6-week intervention. Intervention goals included reducing sizes of sweetened beverages and chips, and increasing the availability of water and reduced-fat/baked chips. Nutrients sold per day were computed and weekly nutrient means per student and per number of items sold were calculated and compared between baseline and week 6. Five schools achieved all goals at 6 weeks. Four schools showed increases in the percentage of kilocalories from protein and decreases in the amount of sweetened beverages sold; five showed substantial increases in water sales. Changes in regular chips varied by school. There were significant changes in energy density of foods sold. School foodservice changes in middle school snack bar/a la carte lines can be implemented and can lead to a reduction in the caloric density of foods purchased.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Beverages / statistics & numerical data
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Drinking
  • Energy Intake / physiology*
  • Female
  • Food Preferences
  • Food Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutrition Policy
  • Nutritive Value
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Pilot Projects
  • Schools
  • Students / psychology*
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Proteins