The Availability of Competitive Foods and Beverages to Middle School Students in Appalachian Virginia Before Implementation of the 2014 Smart Snacks in School Standards
The study objective was to examine the nutritional quality of competitive foods and beverages (foods and beverages from vending machines and à la carte foods) available to rural middle school students, before implementation of the US Department of Agriculture’s Smart Snacks in School standards in July 2014. In spring 2014, we audited vending machines and à la carte cafeteria foods and beverages in 8 rural Appalachian middle schools in Virginia. Few schools had vending machines. Few à la carte and vending machine foods met Smart Snacks in School standards (36.5%); however, most beverages did (78.2%). The major challenges to meeting standards were fat and sodium content of foods. Most competitive foods (62.2%) did not meet new standards, and rural schools with limited resources will likely require assistance to fully comply.