Nutrition Policy Institute researchers will present at the American Public Health Association 2023 Annual Meeting & Expo . The conference brings in over 1,000 sessions, centered on creating a healthier nation by working together to overcome social and ethical challenges. NPI researchers Wendi Gosliner, Lorrene Ritchie, Christina Hecht, Kenneth Hecht and Monica Zuercher co-author two poster sessions. The first is presented by Leah Chapman from Merrimack College titled, “Universal free school meals during the pandemic: A qualitative analysis of parent opinions from California and Maine” on November 13 from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The second is presented by Deborah Olarte from Merrimack College on November 13 from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. titled, “School food authorities' perceptions of the barriers to student participation in universal school meals during the 2021-2022 school year: A mixed-methods study.” The conference will take place in Atlanta, Georgia from November 12-15 with live virtual options for attendees.
Nutrition Policy's Institute's Celeste Felix will present at the 2023 California Resource and Recovery Association Conference about NPI's latest project evaluating how a large, urban school districts' transition to scratch cooking and using reusable serviceware can impact students' dietary intake and environmental sustainability. The conference is hosted by California's largest statewide recycling association and takes place in Burlingame, CA August 13-16, and Celeste will be co-presenting with Ben Schleifer from the Center for Environmental Health and Fremont Unified School District's recycling coordinator, Stephanie Willits on August 15 from 2:45 to 4:15 p.m. Ben, Stephanie, and Celeste will be highlighting the school districts' reusable tray and cutlery pilot project, which is part of a larger study, “Transition to Freshly-Prepared School Meals: Impacts on Meal Appeal, Student Participation, Intake, Food and Packaging Waste & School Finances,” funded by the US Department of Agriculture's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, grant number 2020-68015-30736. This study is conducted by NPI, the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and FUSD in partnership with the Center for Environmental Health and StopWaste.
The Nutrition Policy Institute at the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources is seeking a part-time graduate student fellow to support a research project studying how K-12 schools transitioning to scratch cooking and using reusable serviceware can impact students' dietary intake and environmental sustainability. This opportunity is part of the UC Global Food Initiative 2023-2024 Student Fellowship Program. The UC Global Food Initiative addresses one of the critical issues of our time: how to sustainably and nutritiously feed a world population expected to reach eight billion by 2025. The Student Fellowship program funds student-generated research, related projects or internships that focus on regenerative agriculture, sustainable food systems, or sustainable food service operations. All 10 UC campuses plus UC ANR and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are participating in the program. In addition to working with the NPI team, the UC Global Food Initiative Student Fellow will participate in systemwide activities. This fellowship is a 10-month commitment (September 2023 – June 2024) of approximately 10 hours per week. A $4,000 stipend will be provided. Learn more about the fellowship and how to apply online. Applications are due by Monday, August 21, 2023, 11:59 PM PT.
Pesticides, phthalates, bisphenol-A, commonly known as BPA, and plasticizers are chemicals commonly used in the food supply chain that can have negative health consequences for people regularly exposed to them. A recent study found that school meals had low levels of phthalates and no detectable levels of BPA. However, the study also found that pre-packaged school meals may have high levels of the plasticizer Diethylhexyl adipate, commonly known as DEHA and an often-used substitute for BPA. While these chemical levels are similar to those found in many other foods children typically consume, it is concerning given the limited research on the health impact of DEHA, especially on children who are more vulnerable to the negative health impacts of certain chemicals. Although pesticides were detected in over half of the school meal produce items and a quarter of entrées sampled, nearly all were below the average levels detected by the US Department of Agriculture's Pesticide Data Program. Researchers analyzed the presence of these chemicals in 50 school meal samples made on-site from scratch or pre-packaged and reheated, which were collected between 2019 to 2021 in eight New England schools serving kindergarten through eighth-grade students. The study authors recommend additional studies to investigate the impact of DEHA on children's health and pesticides in school foods, additional funding for schools to prepare food on-site to reduce students' exposure to plasticizers, and for schools to minimize packaging for meals made on-site with plastic. Study results were published in the journal Environmental Research by Juliana Cohen, Scott Richardson, William March and Russ Hauser from Merrimack College and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Wendi Gosliner from the Nutrition Policy Institute at the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. This study was funded by a grant from the Shah Family Foundation.
Nutrition Policy Institute researchers will present their collaborative research findings at the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior International Annual 2023 Conference in Washington, D.C. Wendi Gosliner presents on July 22, 9:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. ET as part of a session on "School Meals for All: Exploring Global Initiatives and Lessons Learned from California and Maine." Lorrene Ritchie presents a poster on July 23, 10:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET titled "Transition to Freshly-Prepared School Meals: Impacts on Meal Appeal, Student Participation, Intake, Food and Packaging Waste & School Finances;" the poster is co-authored by Celeste Felix and Danielle Lee from NPI, Hannah Thompson, Kristine Madsen and Caroline Nguyen from the University of California, Berkeley, and Laura Vollmer from UC Agriculture and Natural Resources. Miranda Westfall presents a poster on July 23, 10:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET titled "Assessments of Practices to Support Nutrition and Physical Activity at CA SNAP-Ed Eligible Schools Reveal Inequities;" the poster is co-authored by Janice Kao, Carolyn Rider, Sridharshi Hewawitharana, Amanda Linares, and Gail Woodward-Lopez from NPI.