1. Summarize the basic idea of the article in a short paragraph.
The article Updated Nutrition Standards Have Significantly Improved the Nutritional Quality of School
Lunches and Breakfasts was published in the Journal of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The
overall basis of the article is to compare the nutritional quality of the new standards that have been put in
place for school lunches and breakfasts as opposed to previous breakfast and lunches provided by the
schools. In 2010, The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act set forth major reforms in school nutrition. This Act
also pushed the US Department of Agriculture to update nutrition standards to align with recent
recommendations in Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The new standards increased fruits, vegetables,
and whole grains. While lowering the levels of sodium and saturated fat. Having more availability to
fat-free or low-fat milk. These new standards would address childhood obesity along with several other
health concerns. This new set of standards that was implemented was a success. This study showed that
the nutritional quality of school lunches and breakfast had increased dramatically.
2. What are the credentials of the author(s)? What do the abbreviations after the name(s) mean? Do
they enhance the authors’ credibility? Explain.
Elizabeth C. Gearan, MS, RD is a senior researcher and deputy director of nutrition policy research. The
MS after her name stands for Masters of Science and RD is an abbreviation for Registered Dietician.
Mary Kay Fox MEd is a senior fellow and director of nutrition policy research. MEd is an abbreviation
for a Master’s in Education with a specialty.
These credentials do enhance the author’s credibility because they are licensed in the field they are
researching. The credibility of an author shows that they are recognized as an authority in that field. Their
credibility supports the study that was performed.
3. Is the author affiliated with an organization or institution? Does the affiliation with the
organization or institution enhance the authors’ credibility? Briefly explain.
Both authors are affiliated with the organization Mathematica. This organization collects data from
around the globe and works to improve the public well being. Mathematica is a complex research
company that is changing the way the world uses data, data analysis, research, evaluation and case
studies. Yes, this enhances the authors’ credibility because this is a respected institution and has won
many awards and accolades. Both authors are connected to this organization which shows that they are
not misrepresenting themselves. Also, it specifically states at the end of the article these studies were
funded by the Food and Nutrition Service of the US Department of Agriculture. This shows how credible
the article is just by who funded the research.
4. Does the periodical have an editorial board? Do the editors’ credentials enhance the articles’
credibility? Where does one look in a periodical for the editorial board?
This article does have an editorial board. Editor-in-Chief Linda G. Snetselaar, Ph.D., RDN, LD, FAND
and Associate Editor Lois Ahrens, RDN, LD all are licensed in the nutrition field. To find the editorial
board click on the homepage of the journal, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the link
5. Is scientific research being presented or discussed? Is the research current?
Yes, scientific research is being presented as well as discussed. This is research that was presented in a
study performed in over 4,002 schools. After data was given then a discussion followed to explain the
findings. The research is from the school year 2014-2015. I would still consider this current due to the
fact the guidelines have not since changed.
6. If so, what specific kinds of research or data are presented or cited to support the ideas?
The research that was provided is from two nationally representative studies of schools. Statistical
analyses and descriptive analyses were conducted to measure the outcome of the new standards. Two tests
were used to assess the differences before and after the standards were implemented. The total score for
both school lunches and breakfast increased by more than twenty percent. Charts and bar graphs were
used to show the data collected.
7. Were references listed to allow readers to investigate the information’s original source? Were full
References were listed if you wanted to investigate a step farther. Also, forty-two full citations are
provided at the end of the article.
8. What is the underlying hypothesis (if/then, cause/effect, etc.)?
The purpose of the nutritional research study is to find the benefits of the new standards. Specifically to
find if the updated standards were successful in improving the nutritional quality of school meals and in
line with the new Dietary Guidelines. So, if they follow the new standard of nutritional guidelines then
students will not struggle as much with childhood obesity and other health issues.
9. What are the article’s conclusions/recommendations?
The conclusion is school nutritional quality has dramatically improved with strong evidence that nutrition
standards are important. Recommendations for the future are that school meals need to be monitored for
nutritional quality and always can be improved upon with training and research.
10. Are the conclusions or recommendations supported by the research discussion? Explain briefly
why or why not.
Yes, the conclusions and recommendations are supported by the evidence provided in the research that
was facilitated for this study. The conclusions are supported by statistics and analysis from nationally
represented school samples. Recommendations are supported by the research because it shows that there
is always room for growth. Nutrition and the student diet is always evolving.
11. Design and describe in-depth additional research that could more decisively test the hypothesis
identified. Pay particular attention to details and controls.
A. Indicate what will be measured.
B. State the type of experimental design and type of experiment.
If I was to design additional research it would be
12. Identify the statements in the article that you believe and those that you do not believe, and
discuss why or why not for each.
I believe the statement “
13. What sources other than those listed in the periodical would you refer to if you were to research
the article’s topic further?
I would research the actual student nutritional diet at home as well. If children are not getting adequate
nutrition at home then the school lunch will have to meet most of their nutritional needs. School lunches
and breakfast would have to be a powerful source for the student. Other sources I would use would be
nutrtion.gov to find out exactly what is in our food and what is need for our student body. CDC, The
American Heart Association and American Acadamy of Pediatrics are a few other resources I would use.
To research it even farther I would contact our family pediatrician and ask for information. The more
knowledge you are armed with the better the outcome.
Gearan, E. C., & Fox, M. K. (2020). Updated Nutrition Standards Have Significantly Improved the
Nutritional Quality of School Lunches and Breakfasts. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,
120(3), 363–370. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2019.10.022
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