Both ASFSA and the school nutrition profession are growing and
improving! In the last issue, I introduced the 2003-04 ASFSA Plan of Action
theme: SMART, or School Meals: Achieving Results Together. We truly are
achieving results for childrenin the United States and around the worldand
the impact can be seen through two important professional initiatives: the ongoing
program reauthorization process and the creation of the Latin American School
First, reauthorization has been an important focus of child nutrition
professionals for the past couple of years. For this reauthorization, the emphasis
has been on eliminating the reduced-price meal category in an effort to provide
children with greater access to school nutrition programs; the initiative appears
to be gaining support. Second, ASFSA was called by the government of Chile and
the World Food Programme to help establish America Latina Red de Alimentacion
Escolar (Latin American School Feeding Network), or LA-RAE, for short. The purpose
of this international network is to link together those involved with school
feeding programs so that they can learn from each other. With this initiative,
ASFSA is continuing its outreach efforts to support international child nutrition
programs in an effort to improve the health and lives of children.
Research generates support for these child nutrition programs,
and I would like to challenge each of you to embrace research as a means of
driving the profession forward. The Journal of Child Nutrition & Management
provides a network to link researchers, practitioners, and government officials
so that they can learn from each other and improve the school nutrition profession.
I am very pleased to announce that Iowa State Univeristy has established
a new doctoral program featuring an alternative schedule. The program focuses
on child nutrition professionals. In June 2004, our first group of 18 students
will embark on the PhD journey, which will include opportunities for conducting
important research. I will keep you posted as the program progresses.
In this issue of the Journal, policies and practices that
impact nutrition and healthy eating habits are the focus of three articles.
Barratt et al. survey North Carolina school foodservice directors to determine
whether districts have coordinated nutrition policies, how these policies can
be improved, and what barriers exist for developing and implementing these policies.
Marie et al. tackle the use of vending machines in Louisiana schools. The authors
found that urban schools offered more vending than rural schools, and that the
most popular vended items were those of low nutrient density. McCullum et al.
evaluated the implementation of the CATCH Eat Smart program in Texas elementary
schools and found that a majority of school foodservice directors indicated
that the program was beneficial and helped them meet federal nutrient standards.
Additionally, in this issue of the Journal, financial performance
is addressed in a benchmarking study conducted by Hwang and Sneed. This national
study provides benchmarking data related to revenue and expenses. Conklin, Bordi,
and Schaper present a practical solution article on the use of grab n'
go breakfast as a way to increase participation. Another practical solution,
provided by Smith et al., describes a process for developing culturally diverse
menu offerings in a child care center.
Finally, in the FNS Research Corner, Endahl and Strasberg summarize
current research being conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Several
projects relate to program management, particularly, verification. The authors
also report on the evaluation of the School Breakfast Program pilot study, as
well as on a study on measuring competitive foods in schools.
I think you will find this issue very interesting and useful.
Remember, I am always looking for reviewers and article submissions!
Jeannie Sneed, PhD, RD, SFNS