Schools are an ideal environment to shape children’s life-long health habits. Wellness in the Schools (WITS) is a national non-profit organization that partners with public schools to provide healthy, scratch-cooked, less processed meals, and active recess periods to promote healthy behaviors and positive interactions among school-aged children.
The Tisch Food Center conducted a two-year evaluation of the WITS programming to understand how WITS programming impacts students’ school lunch consumption, physical activity and behaviors at recess, readiness to learn after lunch/recess, and what students think about lunch and recess. The evaluation uses a quasi-experimental, non-randomized, controlled design to examine the impact of WITS programming on second and third graders over the 2015–16 and 2016–17 school years in 14 New York City public schools.
The Tisch Food Center also examined the effects of the WITS programming among second and third-grade students in NYC public schools serving a high proportion of students from low-income households. More specifically, the aim was to understand how WITS programming impacted students’ school lunch consumption, including their fruit and vegetable intake. The intervention was evaluated with a quasi-experimental, controlled design with 14 elementary schools (7 that had initiated WITS programming in fall 2015 and were designated as intervention schools, and 7 matched control schools).
Ang YI, Wolf R, Koch P, Gray HL, Trent R, Tipton E, Contento IR.School Lunch Environmental Factors Impacting Fruit and Vegetable Consumption. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 2019;51(1):68-79.
Koch PA, Wolf RL, Trent R., Ang IYH, Dallefeld M, Tipton E, Gray HL, Guerra L, Di Noia J. Wellness in the Schools: A Lunch Intervention Increases Fruit and Vegetable Consumption. Nutrients 2021, 13(9), 3085.
Funding for this study was from Wellness in the Schools from a Newman’s Own Foundation grant.