In a second commentary, Nancy Montanez Johner, Undersecretary, Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services at the US Department of Agriculture, emphasizes the need for studies such as SNDA-III to address critical challenges that remain to make the programs as effective as they can be in meeting the needs of participating children. Although more than 70% of schools serve meals that meet standards for many nutrients that contribute to healthful diets, few schools (6% to 7%) met all nutrition standards in school year 2004-2005, primarily because most meals served contain too much fat, too much saturated fat or too few calories. Although most schools offer the opportunity to select a balanced meal, few students make the more healthful choice.
The Special Supplement continues with nine research contributions coauthored by staff from Mathematica that expand on the findings of SNDA-III. The first describes the background and study design including complete details of the sampling methods and study limitations. "Because the SNDA-III study is comprehensive, recent and nationally representative, it provides not only a clear picture of the meals currently eaten by many of our nation's children, but also a strong foundation for future policy development and research," said Mary Kay Crepinsek, a senior researcher at Mathematica who oversaw the compilation of the special supplement.
Four articles present the central SNDA-III results regarding the nutrient cont
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