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At a Glance


U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service

Project Time Frame:


Project Publications



School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study-IV (SNDA-IV)

Guaranteeing that low-income children have enough to eat and consume the right mix of nutritious foods is the aim of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP). These programs provide meals to children in almost all public schools as well as many private schools across the nation. On an average day in 2009, the NSLP and SBP served low-cost or free meals to 31.2 million and 11 million children, respectively. The NSLP also serves nutritious snacks to children participating in afterschool educational and enrichment programs.

Mathematica's SNDA-IV study is examining the nutritional quality of meals and snacks offered and served to children in the NSLP and SBP. The study is also assessing other issues related to school food environments and meal service operations, including policies about and availability of competitive foods (foods offered outside the school meal programs), school wellness policies, and food safety.

Data are being collected between January and June 2010 from nationally representative samples of approximately 600 school food authorities and 900 schools primarily through mail and web-based surveys. Extensive telephone-based technical assistance is provided to school food service managers, who provide detailed data about foods offered and served in breakfasts, lunches, and afterschool snacks for a specific school week.

We are also using data from the previous SNDA study, which Mathematica conducted, to identify characteristics of school meals and school meal environments that are associated with the nutritional quality of meals served and consumed. Our predictive models will estimate the likely impact of changes in policy or practice on the nutritional quality of meals served and consumed, levels of student participation, and program costs.


"New Data on the Nutritional Quality of School Lunches" (Fact Sheet, March 2013)
"School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study IV" (Summary, November 2012)
"School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study-IV: Summary of Findings" (November 2012)
"School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study IV: School Foodservice Operations, School Environments, and Meals Offered and Served" (Volume I, November 2012)
"School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study IV: Sampling and Data Collection Methods" (Volume II, November 2012)


National Alliance for Nutrition & Activity—WebinarMarch 13, 2013
Mary Kay Fox, Mary Kay Crepinsek, and Others, Speakers: "Current State of School Meals & Snacks: School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study IV" View Webinar | Presentation Slides