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Researchers at Southern Miss Develop Guide to Meet Nutritional Needs of Pre-Kindergarten Students PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Contact Jeannie Peng 601.266.5568   

The National Food Service Management Institute's Applied Research Division at The University of Southern Mississippi has developed a research-based best practice guide to meet the nutritional needs of children in pre-kindergarten programs.

With 38 states already funding public pre-kindergarten initiatives, the guide will compliment services provided through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. Best practice categories include communication and training, nutritious menus and meal experiences, administrative support, encouragement, mealtime opportunities, dining environment and healthy wellness practices.

"This is a best practice guide specifically developed for those serving the nutrition needs of pre-kindergarten students in public schools," said Dr. Kristi Lofton, the research scientist who developed and wrote the guide with Dr. Mary Frances Nettles, who is also an NFSMI research scientist at Southern Miss.

The NFSMI Best Practice Guide for School Nutrition Professionals Serving the Nutritional Needs of Pre-Kindergarten Children includes a multifaceted research study incorporating the expertise of school nutrition directors and school officials from Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, as well as information collected from a national survey. The mission of the NFSMI is to provide information and services that promote the continuous improvement of child nutrition programs across the United States.

"We strive very hard to conduct research and development projects that focus on current issues facing child nutrition programs," said Dr. Deborah Carr, director for the Applied Research Division at Southern Miss. "The project outcome is an example of how research can influence operational practices."

For more information about the research study and the downloadable PDF best practices guide, visit

About the National Food Service Management Institute - Applied Research Division
Information provided is the result of research produced by the National Food Service Management Institute's Applied Research Division, located at The University of Southern Mississippi with headquarters at The University of Mississippi. The Institute is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service.

About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities.  In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world.  Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at

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