The cost and calorie content of a la carte food items purchased by students during school lunch
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The cost and calories of a la carte/competitive food purchased by elementary and intermediate school students were examined. Data was provided by a school district in Houston for student transactions during the 2012–2013 school year. The amount of money spent on competitive foods, the number of calories per food item, the student grade level, and the socioeconomic status of the school were assessed. Differences in cost and calories of purchased competitive foods were analyzed using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) and p value <0.001 determined whether results were statistically significant. Students in intermediate schools spent $1.51 more on a la carte foods (p<0.001) and consumed a greater amount of calories (291.5 calories) (p<0.001) in comparison to elementary school students, regardless of socioeconomic status.