Nutrition information in a high school cafeteria: the effect of point-of-purchase nutrition information during lunch in grades 9-12
Providing nutrition information at point of sale at restaurants has gained in popularity in recent years and will soon become a legal requirement. Consumers are using this opportunity to become more informed on the nutritional quality of the foods they consume in an effort to maintain healthfulness. Prior research has confirmed the utility of this information in adult populations. However, research on adolescents in school environments has resulted in mixed findings. This study investigated the effect of exposure to calorie and fat information on student purchases at lunchtime in a high school cafeteria. Additionally, it explored other factors that may contribute to students' food selections during school lunches. The research methods included analysis of changes in cafeteria food sales in one school, surveys, and focus groups. Analysis of cafeteria food sales during lunch did not show any significant change in the average number of calories and fat purchased per student between pre and post intervention. However, information gathered from focus group questioning demonstrated how students used the nutrition information to change their behavior after they have purchased their food.