Schools are recognized as suitable environments to promote, improve, and enhance children's health. Research suggests a positive correlation exists between children's health and the prevalence of family-style meals. The purpose of this study was to identify the promoters, barriers, and perceptions of a family-style meal service in a school foodservice setting. Five focus group interviews (n=40), with children (kindergarten, 3rd and 4th grade), parents, and teachers were conducted at an independent suburban school within the Minneapolis metropolitan area. Individual interviews (n=8) were conducted over the phone with foodservice directors and school administrators from Philadelphia and Minnesota. Focus groups and individual interviews were transcribed verbatim and coded by three individual coders to generate themes. Promoters of family-style meals included life-skill development for children such as social skills and mealtime etiquette. Food preference development and healthy eating behaviors were positively associated with a family-style meal service through adult role-modeling, peer to peer interaction, community building within the school environment, and increased exposure to diverse foods. Barriers to family-style meals included cost, lack of resources, inadequate staffing, and ensuring compliance with federal school meal regulations. This study suggests that family-style meals in school settings are developmentally appropriate, increase children's acceptance of healthy foods.
University of Minnesota M.S. thesis. June 2014. Major: Nutrition. Adisor: Teri L. Burgess-Champoux. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 155 pages, appendices A-N.
Street (Coborn), Jamie Elizabeth.
Bringing family meals to schools: a qualitative and quantitative analysis.
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