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Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools: Leading the Way Toward Healthier Youth
dards. This information will help in determining if changes in the kinds of offerings lead to greater improvements in their nutritional intake at school and if there was a spillover effect on their food attitudes or preferences beyond the school day.
Impact on School Operations and Finances
Major changes in one aspect of school operations can have related effects on other aspects of the school—positive and negative, expected and unexpected. It will be useful to examine what these effects may be. One is the potential impact on the overall school budget and on school food service revenues. Are revenues lost or gained, and in which areas of the budget? What are the impacts of these changes, and, in the case of lost revenue, if any, what changes have been made to reverse or adjust to the loss? Implementation of the recommended standards probably will influence other aspects of school operations, and these changes also could be examined and reported as part of the benchmarking process.
Programs That Track Progress
Examples of programs that track the progress of evaluation activities once they are put into practice include the CDC Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) and School Physical Activity and Nutrition (SPAN) survey. The YRBSS gathers data on six categories of priority health-risk behaviors among children and young adults, including unhealthy dietary behaviors, and physical inactivity. The YRBSS also monitors general health status and the prevalence of overweight and asthma in children and adolescents. The program includes a national school-based survey conducted by CDC and state and local school-based surveys conducted by state and local education and health agencies. Examples of ways that the national YRBSS data are used by CDC and other federal agencies include assessing trends in priority health-risk behaviors among high school students, and monitoring progress toward achieving fifteen Healthy People 2010 health objectives. State and local agencies and nongovernmental organizations use YRBSS data to set school health and health promotion program goals, such as wellness policies; support modification of school health curricula programs; support new legislation and policies that promote health; and seek funding for new initiatives.
The SPAN survey was developed to assess nutrition behaviors, attitudes and knowledge, and physical activity behaviors among 4th, 8th, and 11th grade students. Example applications of the SPAN survey include SPAN 2000–2002 and 2004–2005 studies, the Houston-Harris County STEPS Consortium, the Travis County CATCH program, and Robert Wood John-