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Changes in the Nutrient Content of School Lunches: Results from the Pathways Study


Story, Mary; Snyder, M. Patricia; Anliker, Jean; Weber, Judith L.; Cunningham-Sabo, Leslie; Stone, Elaine J.; Chamberlain, Arlene; Ethelbah, Becky; Suchindran, Chirayath M.; & Ring, Kim (2003). Changes in the Nutrient Content of School Lunches: Results from the Pathways Study. Preventive Medicine, 37(6, Pt. 2), S35-45.


Background: Pathways, a randomized trial, evaluated the effectiveness of a school-based multicomponent intervention to reduce fatness in American-Indian schoolchildren. The goal of the Pathways food service intervention component was to reduce the fat in school lunches to no more than 30% of energy from fat while maintaining recommended levels of calories and key nutrients.
Methods: The intervention was implemented by school food service staff in intervention schools over a 3-year period. Five consecutive days of school lunch menu items were collected from 20 control and 21 intervention schools at four time periods, and nutrient content was analyzed.
Results: There was a significantly greater mean reduction in percent energy from fat and saturated fat in the intervention schools compared to the control schools. Mean percentages of energy from fat decreased from 33.1% at baseline to 28.3% at the end of the study in intervention schools compared to 33.2% at baseline and 32.2% at follow-up in the control schools (P<0.003). There were no statistically significant differences for calories or nutrients between intervention and control schools.
Conclusions: The Pathways school food lunch intervention documented the feasibility of successfully lowering the percent of energy from fat, as part of a coordinated obesity prevention program for American-Indian children.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Preventive Medicine


Story, Mary
Snyder, M. Patricia
Anliker, Jean
Weber, Judith L.
Cunningham-Sabo, Leslie
Stone, Elaine J.
Chamberlain, Arlene
Ethelbah, Becky
Suchindran, Chirayath M.
Ring, Kim