Factors Influencing Fluid Milk Waste in aBreakfast in the Classroom School Breakfast Program

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Abstract

Objective:

To determine predictors of fluid milk waste in a Breakfast in the Classroom School Breakfast Program.

Design:

Cross-sectional with 3 repeated measures/classroom.

Setting:

Elementary schools in a medium-sized, low-income, urban school district.

Participants:

Twenty third- through fourth-grade classrooms across 6 schools.

Main Outcomes:

Dependent variables include percentage of total and served milk wasted. Independent variables included observed daily menu offerings, program factors, and teacher and student behavior.

Analysis:

Descriptive statistics were used to characterize variables across classrooms and schools. Multilevel mixed-effects models were used to test associations between predictors and outcomes of interest. P ≤ .05 was considered statistically significant.

Results:

Total milk waste increased 12% when juice was offered and 3% for each additional carton of unserved milk. Teacher encouragement to take and/or consume breakfast was associated with a 5% and 9% increase in total and served milk waste, respectively. When students were engaged in other activities in addition to eating breakfast, total milk waste decreased 10%.

Conclusions and Implications:

Beverage offerings were predictive of greater total milk waste. Teacher and student behavior also appeared to influence milk consumption. Findings suggest that specific changes to School Breakfast Program implementation policies and practices could have an important role in waste mitigation.

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