The purpose of this study was to examine the factors affecting students' participation in the National School Lunch Program. Subjects consisted of a convenience sample of 144 Loara High School Students, all of whom completed a survey instrument regarding their degree of satisfaction with the overall quality of the school lunch program, the lunch program staff, the conditions of the dining room, nutrition, time and costs, and diversity related issues. Subjects also provided demographic information.
All collected data were cross-tabulated by the frequency with which students participated in the school lunch program (not at all, once to twice per week, three to five times per week) and analyzed using descriptive statistics (computation of frequencies, percentages, measures of central tendency, and measures of variability). These descriptive analyses revealed the following:
1. Most of the sample consisted of female ninth graders between 14 and 16 years of age with age rising slightly with frequency of participation in the program.
2. All students who participated in the NSLP tended to provide high satisfaction ratings for the lunch service overall, the flavor of the food, the appearance of the staff, their friendliness and the extent to which they treated students with respect, the general ambiance of the lunch room, the nose levels (kept low) and the fact that he program offered special theme days. Nutrition-related components received the lowest ratings.
3. The findings of the study also suggested some possible differences between students who ate school lunch one to two times per week and students who ate school lunch between three and five times per week. Specifically, it was found that when compared to the students who ate school lunch 3 - 5 times per week, students eating school lunch only one to two times per week were more satisfied with: a) the degree to which the staff listened to students; b) the cleanliness...