Rock On Cafe

An Effective Practice


Rock on Café aimed to develop a healthier school lunch program in 15 school districts in Broom and Tioga counties in New York state. This program built on previous programs in the Broom and Tioga County area. Targeted components included (a) education of students, parents and food service directors, (b) repackaging of healthy food options to be more appealing to students (packaging as "to go meals", cutting fruit into slices), (c) involvement of students in menu planning and nontraditional partners in advertisement, and (d) consolidation of food purchasing, menu planning and branding. Foods low in nutritional value were also restricted on school menus. A monitoring system was set up to evaluate the program that included a pre- and post-test design. Analysis included calories and macronutrients in the menu, food purchase costs, school lunch participation, media outreach methods and surveys of parents and food service directors.

Goal / Mission

To create a sustainable school lunch program that incorporated healthier food items by leveraging the combined efforts of several school districts.

Results / Accomplishments

By the end of the three-year project, all 15 school districts in the two-county region were participating. Purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables increased by approximately 14%. Before the start of the project, districts were technically falling below, but occasionally exceeding, the mandated limit that meals include 30% or fewer calories from fat and 10% or fewer calories from saturated fat. After implementation, percentages of these macronutrients fell well below required standards. During the project, a total of 776 public service announcements were made on a local television station, reaching approximately 2,000 viewers over a total of 88 days. School lunch participation increased in all 15 districts. The percent of parents who considered school lunches a nutritious meal option increased from 38.4% (n = 382) in June 2007 to 45.1% (n = 92) in June 2008. All food service directors (7 of 12 reporting) rated the overall program as good to excellent. Of the various program elements, the use of registered dieticians and consolidation of food procurement were identified as the most valuable by most food service directors (71.4%).

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Yvonne Johnston
Binghamton University
PO Box 6000
Binghamton, NY 13902-6000
(607) 777-2622
Health / Exercise, Nutrition, & Weight
Education / School Environment
Steps to a HealthierNY, Broome County; Broome-Tioga Board of Cooperative Educational Services
CDC's Healthy Communities Program
Date of publication
Apr 2009
Date of implementation
Sep 2005
Broome and Tioga, NY
For more details
Target Audience

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