Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Evaluation of the School Breakfast Program Pilot Project

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service conducted the three-year pilot from school year (SY) 2000–2001 through SY 2002–2003. The aim of this pilot was to study the impact of the availability of universal-free school breakfast on breakfast participation and measures related to elementary school students’ nutritional status and academic performance. This pilot was not intended to evaluate the current SBP or the value of consuming breakfast.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Measuring Competitive Foods in Schools

There has been growing concern about the sale in schools of foods with limited nutritional value. Of particular concern is the availability to school children of “competitive foods,” a term that includes a wide range of foods that do not qualify as reimbursable meals under the National School Lunch Program or the School Breakfast Program. Such foods can often be obtained from a la carte cafeteria sales, vending machines, and
school stores. While the widespread availability of competitive foods is well documented (Wechsler et al, 2001), there is relatively little detailed data on the amounts of various types of competitive foods that are sold in schools or about their nutrient content. Such information is needed to estimate the full prevalence of competitive food sales and to determine the types of changes and approaches needed to facilitate change. This “briefing report” summarizes research recently undertaken for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service to develop a methodological basis for obtaining detailed information on the competitive foods sold in schools.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Case Study of National School Lunch Program Verification Outcomes in Large Metropolitan School Districts

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP) provide federal financial assistance and commodities to schools serving lunches and breakfasts that meet required nutrition standards. Under the NSLP and the SBP, millions of American students receive a free or reduced-price lunch and/or breakfast every school day. Concern has grown recently that many students who participate in the program may in fact be ineligible for the benefits they receive. School Food Authorities (SFAs) that operate the NSLP must verify the eligibility of a small sample of approved applications by requiring documentation of income or receipt of food stamps or cash assistance. The verification process is designed to identify and deter errors in each district. However, the system does not provide data on the accuracy of benefit determination nationwide. This report presents the results of a case study of verification in 21 large metropolitan SFAs around the country. The study examined outcomes of the verification process and made an independent assessment of income eligibility of households with specific verification outcomes using data from in-person interviews with families.