the standards, or if “black marketing” of foods and beverages by students becomes a common practice.

Impact on Children’s Diets

The ultimate goal of the recommended nutrition standards is to contribute positively to the nutritional quality and healthfulness of diets of school-age children and to the food habits they develop. Benchmarks in this area will include whether changes in the foods and beverages consumed during the school day and improvements in nutritional intake at school occurred.

For example:

  • Are children more likely to consume federally reimbursable school breakfasts and lunches and after school-snacks?

  • Are there changes in à la carte or vending sales or in the amounts and kinds of food purchased off campus or brought from home?

  • Do children consume increased numbers of servings of fruits, vegetables, nonfat and low-fat dairy products, and whole grains as a result of the implementation of these standards?

  • Do children consume less total, saturated, and trans fat; sodium and added sugar; and more fiber? Do they consume more water and fewer soft drinks?

  • Is excess caloric intake reduced as a result of the implementation of the standards?

  • Is there a significant increase in intakes of nutrients of concern?

In addition to the above, it will be useful for studies to examine whether the overall dietary intakes of children and/or the distributions of body mass indexes are affected positively by these changes. The tracking of these outcomes at local and state levels may also be useful for overall monitoring and community awareness purposes. However, users of such data must bear in mind that such outcomes reflect a much wider set of behavioral and environmental factors at home and in the community, and are not to be expected to change merely in response to improvements in the school food environment. Positive changes in dietary intake have been shown to improve health. However, in evaluating the impact of the standards, the general focus should be on whether dietary intake has changed as a result of differences in the kinds of foods and beverages made available during the school day.

Finally, it would be helpful to know whether there is an overall impact on those students who were most likely to consume competitive foods and beverages before the implementation of the recommended nutrition stan-

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