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Prevalence of Meats Offered during Meals at New York City Schools

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Objective: We examined types and frequency of meats and meat alternatives offered to children attending New York City public and private elementary and middle schools. Methods: Weekly public and private school breakfast and lunch menus were collected 3 times from each school during the 2018-2019 academic year. Menu options were reviewed and categorized as containing processed meat, unprocessed red meat, unprocessed poultry, breaded/fried poultry, fish, and meat alternatives. Results: Public school hot breakfast menus offered 2.0 options per week of processed meats and lunch menus offered an average of 4.0, 1.3, 1.7, and 2.0 options per week of processed, red, unprocessed poultry, and breaded poultry meats, respectively. Private school lunch menus offered an average of 1.0, 1.5, 2.1, and 0.4 options per week of processed, red, unprocessed poultry, and breaded poultry meats, respectively. The majority of private schools, 75% of those serving grades K-5 and 64% of those serving grades 6-8, offered a daily salad bar and/or sandwich bar with processed meats. Conclusions: The school food environment influences and contributes to children's dietary intakes. We suggest removing processed meats from meals, reducing red meat-based meals, increasing vegetable- and grain-based alternatives in recipes, and instituting meatless meal days.
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Keywords: LUNCH; PRIVATE SCHOOLS; PROCESSED MEATS; RED MEATS; SCHOOL MENUS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2020

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  • Health Behavior and Policy Review is a rigorously peer-reviewed scholarly bi-monthly publication that seeks manuscripts on health behavior or policy topics that represent original research, including papers that examine the development, advocacy, implementation, or evaluation of policies around specific health issues. The Review especially welcomes papers that tie together health behavior and policy recommendations. Articles are available through subscription or can be ordered individually from the Health Behavior and Policy Review site.
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