Lorrene Ritchie and Hannah Thompson quoted in The Daily Californian article on USDA school meal participation study

Oct 13, 2020

Lorrene Ritchie, director and UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) specialist at the University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI), Hannah Thompson, NPI epidemiologist and research scientist at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, and Marisa Neelon, UCCE nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor, were quoted in an October 12, 2020 article in The Daily Californian titled "UC Berkeley study shows intervention affect school lunch participation." The article highlights a collaborative three-year study with San Francisco Unified School District Student Nutrition Services (SFUSD SNS) to evaluate a dining redesign intervention with the goal of increasing school lunch participation among SFUSD middle and high school students. The article highlights research findings that were published in two journals, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health and Childhood ObesityDr. Thompson is quoted, “While interventions helped stave off the decline of student lunch participation, a big conclusion of this study is that larger economic policies and conditions are actually much more impactful on participation.” Dr. Ritchie is quoted, "We found that these positive perceptions towards school lunch also increased reports of consumption of fruits and vegetables among students very modestly.” Neelon added, “Increasing participation and consumption of school meals can potentially address the shortfall in adolescent's intake of fruits and vegetables. Additionally, the closure of schools due to COVID-19 has elevated the importance of school meals to meet the nutritional needs of food-insecure families.” The study was funded by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) through a grant from the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). Read the full article online.


By Danielle L. Lee
Author - Policy Analyst | Nutrition Policy Institute