C.K. Probart, PhD, RD*; E.T. McDonnell, MS, RD*; J.E. Weirich, MEd*; P. Birkenshaw, MA**; V. Fekete, MS, RD**. *Penn State University, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University Park, PA; **Pennsylvania Department of Education, Division of Food and Nutrition, Harrisburg, PA.
LEARNING OUTCOME: To describe an effective strategy for increasing knowledge about School Breakfast Programs and promoting the initiation of School Breakfast Programs
TEXT: A project designed to promote School Breakfast Programs (SBP) in our state included a satellite teleconference for school foodservice (SFS) personnel. A one-year follow-up evaluation was conducted to determine if there were differences in key variables between teleconference participants and non-participants, or between those exposed to the teleconference content through an edited video/DVD which was distributed to all SFS directors in our state versus those not exposed. A 33-item survey was created and distributed to 369 SFS directors - 169 teleconference participants and 200 non-participants. Three hundred twenty-three surveys were returned (response rate = 87.5%). Compared to non-participants, participants rated their knowledge of strategies to improve school meals participation higher (7.5 ± 1.6 vs. 6.7 ± 1.8, with 10 being very informed; p < 0.001) and were more familiar with strategies for increasing school meals participation (10.2 ± 1.4 vs. 8.8 ± 2.4, on an 11 point familiarity scale; p < 0.001). Three-quarters of participants shared teleconference information with SFS staff, and almost half shared information with administrators. Eighty-one percent of respondents indicated either viewing the edited teleconference video or likelihood to do so. Collapsing participants with those who indicated viewing the edited teleconference video to create an exposure category, we found that, compared to those not exposed to the teleconference content, those in the exposure group were significantly more likely to have started a SBP during the school year following the teleconference (26.9% vs. 16.5%; p < 0.05). These findings support teleconferences as an effective strategy for promoting SBPs.
FUNDING DISCLOSURE: This project was funded through United States Department of Agriculture State Administrative Expense funds administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.