Advertisement

Validity and Interrater Reliability of the Visual Quarter-Waste Method for Assessing Food Waste in Middle School and High School Cafeteria Settings

      Abstract

      Background

      Measuring food waste (ie, plate waste) in school cafeterias is an important tool to evaluate the effectiveness of school nutrition policies and interventions aimed at increasing consumption of healthier meals. Visual assessment methods are frequently applied in plate waste studies because they are more convenient than weighing. The visual quarter-waste method has become a common tool in studies of school meal waste and consumption, but previous studies of its validity and reliability have used correlation coefficients, which measure association but not necessarily agreement.

      Objective

      The aims of this study were to determine, using a statistic measuring interrater agreement, whether the visual quarter-waste method is valid and reliable for assessing food waste in a school cafeteria setting when compared with the gold standard of weighed plate waste.

      Methods

      To evaluate validity, researchers used the visual quarter-waste method and weighed food waste from 748 trays at four middle schools and five high schools in one school district in Washington State during May 2014. To assess interrater reliability, researcher pairs independently assessed 59 of the same trays using the visual quarter-waste method. Both validity and reliability were assessed using a weighted κ coefficient.

      Results

      For validity, as compared with the measured weight, 45% of foods assessed using the visual quarter-waste method were in almost perfect agreement, 42% of foods were in substantial agreement, 10% were in moderate agreement, and 3% were in slight agreement. For interrater reliability between pairs of visual assessors, 46% of foods were in perfect agreement, 31% were in almost perfect agreement, 15% were in substantial agreement, and 8% were in moderate agreement.

      Conclusions

      These results suggest that the visual quarter-waste method is a valid and reliable tool for measuring plate waste in school cafeteria settings.

      Keywords

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

      1. Nutrition standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs; Final Rule, 7 CFR § § 210(2012). 7 CFR § § (2012). http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-01-26/pdf/2012-1010.pdf. Accessed October 4, 2016.

        • Smith S.L.
        • Cunningham-Sabo L.
        Food choice, plate waste and nutrient intake of elementary- and middle-school students participating in the US National School Lunch Program.
        Public Health Nutr. 2014; 17: 1255-1263
        • Cohen J.F.
        • Richardson S.
        • Parker E.
        • Catalano P.J.
        • Rimm E.B.
        Impact of the new U.S. Department of Agriculture school meal standards on food selection, consumption and waste.
        Am J Prev Med. 2015; 46: 388-394
        • Snyder M.P.
        • Story M.
        • Trenkner L.L.
        Reducing fat and sodium in school lunch programs: The LUNCHPOWER! Intervention Study.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 1992; 92: 1087-1091
        • Niaki S.F.
        • Moore C.E.
        • Chen T.A.
        • Weber Cullen K.
        Younger elementary school students waste more school lunch foods than older elementary school students.
        J Acad Nutr Diet. 2017; 117: 95-101
        • Wolper C.
        • Heshka S.
        • Heymsfield S.
        Measuring food intake: An overview.
        in: Allison D. Handbook of Assessment Measures for Eating Behaviors and Weight-Related Problems. Sage Publishing, Thousand Oaks, CA1995: 215-240
        • Jansen G.R.
        • Harper J.M.
        Consumption and plate waste of menu items served in the National School Lunch Program.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 1978; 73: 395-400
      2. Buzby J, Guthrie J. Plate waste in school nutrition programs: Final report to Congress. March 2002. http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/887982/efan02009.pdf. Accessed September 13, 2016.

      3. Comstock EM, Symington LE, Chmielinski HE, McGuire JS. Plate waste in school feeding programs: Individual and aggregate measures. December 1979. http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a097819.pdf. Accessed September 29, 2016.

        • Comstock E.M.
        • St Pierre R.G.
        • Mackiernan Y.D.
        Measuring individual plate waste in school lunches. Visual estimation and children’s ratings vs. actual weighing of plate waste.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 1981; 79: 290-296
        • LaChance P.A.
        Simple research techniques for school foodservice—part II: Measuring plate waste.
        School Lunch J. 1976; 30: 68-76
        • Swanson M.
        Digital photography as a tool to measure school cafeteria consumption.
        J Sch Health. 2008; 78: 432-437
        • Williamson D.A.
        • Allen H.R.
        • Martin P.D.
        • Alfonso A.J.
        • Gerald B.
        • Hunt A.
        Comparison of digital photography to weighed and visual estimation of portion sizes.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 2003; 103: 1139-1145
        • Acredolo L.P.
        • Pick Jr., H.L.
        Evaluation of a school lunch program.
        Psychol Rep. 1975; 37: 331-332
        • Hanks A.S.
        • Wansink B.
        • Just D.R.
        Reliability and accuracy of real-time visualization techniques for measuring school cafeteria tray waste: Validating the quarter-waste method.
        J Acad Nutr Diet. 2014; 114: 470-474
        • Kirks B.A.
        • Wolff H.K.
        A comparison of methods for plate waste determinations.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 1985; 85: 328-331
        • Dubois S.
        Accuracy of visual estimates of plate waste in the determination of food consumption.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 1990; 90: 382-387
      4. Kent School District Behavioral Economics Project. Transforming the health of South Seattle & South King County. http://www.kingcounty.gov/healthservices/health/partnerships/∼/media/health/publichealth/documents/ctg/Kent-Behavioral-Economics-Project-Description.ashx. Accessed October 24, 2016.

      5. Stata Statistical Software [computer program]. Version 13. College Station, TX: StataCorp LP; 2013.

        • Cohen J.
        Weighted kappa: Nominal scale agreement provision for scaled disagreement or partial credit.
        Psychol Bull. 1968; 70: 213-220
        • Landis J.R.
        • Koch G.G.
        The measurement of observer agreement for categorical data.
        Biometrics. 1977; 33: 159-174
        • McHugh M.L.
        Interrater reliability: The kappa statistic.
        Biochem Med (Zagreb). 2012; 23: 276-282
        • Thompson C.H.
        • Head M.K.
        • Rodman S.M.
        Factors influencing accuracy in estimating plate waste.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 1987; 87: 1219-1220

      Biography

      K. M. Getts is a research coordinator, Center for Public Health Nutrition, University of Washington School of Public Health, Seattle.

      Biography

      E. L. Quinn is a research coordinator, Center for Public Health Nutrition, University of Washington School of Public Health, Seattle.

      Biography

      D. B. Johnson is a professor emeritus, Nutritional Sciences Program, Department of Health Services, University of Washington School of Public Health, Seattle.

      Biography

      J. J. Otten is an assistant professor, Nutritional Sciences Program, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, University of Washington School of Public Health, Seattle.