Little is known about the effect of competitive foods on children’s consumption of lunch meals in elementary schools in Mississippi. The objective of this observational study was to examine how competitive food purchases affect entrée, fruit, and vegetable consumption using the quarter-waste method. A total of 862 meals and purchase of competitive foods were observed. Children who purchased ice cream or pudding were 1.6 times more likely to throw away more than 50% of their entrée, 3.5 times more likely to not eat their vegetables, and more than two times more likely to not eat their fruit than children who did not purchase ice cream or pudding. Children who purchased chips were also less likely to consume more than 50% of their entrée. These findings suggest that competitive foods can impact children’s fruit and vegetable consumption.



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