Many of the breakout group participants felt that evaluation is critical, with many people involved in discussions about evaluation to get buy-in and cooperation. While the participants thought that evaluation should include behaviors, some breakout group participants expressed concern that teachers not be held accountable for what students choose to eat in a cafeteria. School report cards or other incentives may be a way to foster behavioral changes.
Some participants argued for including nutrition in standardized tests so that it does not get lost. Others opposed standardized testing on nutrition.
It would be important to consider the effects of food marketing on student eating behaviors. In general, many stakeholders have an interest in the school environment, from the food service staff to educators to policy makers. For example, one participant worried about the possibility of lawsuits and other kinds of pushback if students were told what to eat and what not to eat.
CHALLENGES IN DEVELOPING AND IMPLEMENTING STANDARDS
Three of the breakout groups addressed the question about challenges in developing and implementing nutrition education curriculum standards. Various group participants identified costs and resources, political will, and time, along with who will deliver and implement standards where and when, as possible obstacles.
According to some breakout group participants, strategies to overcome these obstacles include providing educators with information and training and ensuring that implementation of standards is reasonable and doable. They believe standards need to reflect current concerns and constraints, especially with regard to the amount of time available to teachers over the course of a school year. However, several participants observed that obesity is a costly problem for schools and that nutrition education would rank high in any list of potential curriculum topics.
The other three breakout groups considered the question of how best to move forward. Among federal agencies, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Education would be the major drivers of change, according to these breakout group participants. Some breakout group members thought the Department of Education should take the lead, while others thought USDA should do so. Many participants believed the curriculum standards should be linked to the dietary guidelines to improve eating patterns. Also, it was