Florida Public Health Review

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Public health professionals have the opportunity to impact middle school students’ dietary behaviors to combat childhood obesity. The purpose of this study was to investigate the dietary behavior results from the YRBS taken by middle school students in Duval County in 2009, 2011 and 2013. A two-stage cluster design was used and the survey was completed by 6th through 8th grade students following parent notification. Compared to other health zones, Health Zone 1 had the lowest intake of fruits and vegetables in 2009 (2.66 ±1.65) and 2011 (2.77 ± 1.60) and the second lowest intake in 2013 (2.92 ± 1.70). In 2009, 2011 and 2013, Health Zone 1 students’ response for soda intake was consistently higher compared to other health zones (2.39 ±1.54; 2.40 ±1.47; 2.29 ± 1.54 respectively). Health Zone 1, the urban core of Jacksonville, consistently had the lowest intake of fruits and vegetables and the highest intake of soda. Public health strategies should focus on improving fruit and vegetable intake and reducing soda intake within the school environment particularly focusing on Health Zone 1.