Effect of grade level on plate waste in elementary schools




Firouziniaki, Shahrbanou

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Plate waste may reduce the benefits children receive from lunch at school after implementation of new school meal standards. It was hypothesized that the percentage of food waste of elementary school children would not differ based on grade level ranges - kindergarten through grade five. Observation of 573 students, kindergarten through grade five were obtained in 8 elementary schools in Houston, Texas, in 2013. Students in kindergarten and grade one (KGr1) wasted significantly more calories (p<0.001), fruit + juice (p<0.05), total vegetables (p<0.01), red orange vegetable (p<0.05), other vegetable (p<0.05), whole grain and other grains (p<0.05 for both), total grain (p<0.01), and total protein foods (p<0.01) than grade four and five (Gr45). Furthermore, grade two and three (Gr23) students wasted more calories than Gr45 students (p<0.01). KGr1 wasted more fruit than Gr23 (p<0.05). Gr23 wasted more total grain than Gr45 (p<0.05). In conclusion, younger elementary school students waste more of certain foods than older elementary school students in elementary schools.



Elementary schools, Grade levels, National school lunch program, Health and environmental sciences, Plate waste, Elementary Education