School-Level Practices and Perceptions Associated With Salad Bars in Schools

J Sch Health. 2018 Jun;88(6):416-422. doi: 10.1111/josh.12624.


Background: Salad bars are placed in schools to promote fruit and vegetable consumption among students. This study assessed differences in school nutrition practices and perceptions in schools with and without salad bars.

Methods: Cross-sectional surveys were completed by school nutrition managers (N = 648) in Arizona schools participating in the National School Lunch Program during 2013-2014. Mixed general estimating equation binomial regressions assessed factors related to having a salad bar after mutually adjusting for clustering within districts, school level, free/reduced rate, and respondents' time in current position.

Results: On average, 61% of schools reported having a salad bar. After adjustment, school nutrition managers were significantly more likely to report having a salad bar if they served lunch by grade level (vs mixed grades), had a full-service kitchen, and their personal perception of salad bars was positive; schools were less likely to have a salad bar if menu and food service decisions were made at the school level.

Conclusions: Several school-level nutrition practices and perceptions were associated with having a salad bar in schools. Enhancement of these factors may facilitate having salad bars in schools.

Keywords: nutrition environment; salad bars; school nutrition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Arizona
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Food Preferences / psychology*
  • Food Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Lunch / psychology*
  • Male
  • Schools / statistics & numerical data*
  • Students / psychology*
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Vegetables