Iowa Parent School Lunch Survey: Formative research for communication about school meal pattern changes

Askelson, N.M.; Golembiewski, E.H.; Eichert, D.


The purpose of this parent survey is to determine Iowa parents’ knowledge and perceptions of the school lunch program and the new school meal patterns. The results of the survey will inform the development of a health communication intervention, which will educate parents about the new school meal patterns and encourage their support of the reforms. The parent survey is one piece of a larger research effort to understand the school lunch program and its comprehensive importance to families in Iowa. Interviews have been conducted with school food service directors, school administrators and school nurses. Additionally, high school students have participated in focus groups. Beginning in Fall 2013, in-depth telephone interviews will be conducted with rural food service directors to better understand the unique challenges they face and the support and resources they need to successfully implement the new school meal policies.

Designed by researchers at the University of Iowa Public Policy Center and Department of Community & Behavioral Health in conjunction with the Iowa Department of Education, the 28 questions included in the final survey instrument measured parent knowledge of school lunch changes along with attitudes toward these changes; parental beliefs surrounding healthy dietary practices for their children and the importance of school lunch in childhood nutrition and general health; and preferred modes of communication between parents and the school.