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Do School Lunches Contribute to Childhood Obesity?

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  • Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach
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    Abstract

    This paper assesses whether school lunches contribute to childhood obesity. I employ two methods to isolate the causal impact of school lunches on obesity. First, using panel data, I find that children who consume school lunches are more likely to be obese than those who brown bag their lunches even though they enter kindergarten with the same obesity rates. Second, I leverage the sharp discontinuity in eligibility for reduced-price lunch to compare children just above and just below the eligibility cutoff. Students are more likely to be obese, and weigh more if they are income-eligible for reduced price school lunches.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

    Volume (Year): 44 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages:

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    Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:44:y:2009:i3:p684-709

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    Web page: http://jhr.uwpress.org/

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    Cited by:
    1. Anderson, Patricia M. & Butcher, Kristin F. & Cascio, Elizabeth U. & Schanzenbach, Diane Whitmore, 2011. "Is being in school better? The impact of school on children's BMI when starting age is endogenous," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 977-986.
    2. Shirlee Lichtman, 2012. "Does Banning Carbonated Beverages in Schools Decrease Student Consumption?," Discussion Papers, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research 12-023, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    3. Ehmke, Mariah D. & Willson, Tina M. & Schroeter, Christiane & Hart, Ann Marie & Coupal, Roger H., 2009. "Obesity Economics for the Western United States," Western Economics Forum, Western Agricultural Economics Association, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 8(02).
    4. Burgstahler, Rebecca & Gundersen, Craig & Garasky, Steven B., 2012. "The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Financial Stress, and Childhood Obesity," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 41(1), April.
    5. Bauhoff, Sebastian, 2014. "The effect of school district nutrition policies on dietary intake and overweight: A synthetic control approach," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 12(C), pages 45-55.
    6. Leos-Urbel, Jacob & Schwartz, Amy Ellen & Weinstein, Meryle & Corcoran, Sean, 2013. "Not just for poor kids: The impact of universal free school breakfast on meal participation and student outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 88-107.
    7. Peter Hinrichs, 2010. "The effects of the National School Lunch Program on education and health," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(3), pages 479-505.
    8. Roy, Manan & Millimet, Daniel L. & Tchernis, Rusty, 2010. "Federal Nutrition Programs and Childhood Obesity: Inside the Black Box," IZA Discussion Papers 5316, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Chad D. Meyerhoefer & Muzhe Yang, 2011. "The Relationship between Food Assistance and Health: A Review of the Literature and Empirical Strategies for Identifying Program Effects," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 33(3), pages 304-344.
    10. Ziol-Guest, Kathleen M. & Dunifon, Rachel E. & Kalil, Ariel, 2013. "Parental employment and children's body weight: Mothers, others, and mechanisms," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 52-59.
    11. McEwan, Patrick J., 2013. "The impact of Chile's school feeding program on education outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 122-139.
    12. Giorgio Brunello & Maria De Paola & Giovanna Labartino, 2012. "More Apples Less Chips? The Effect of School Fruit Schemes on the Consumption of Junk Food," ISER Discussion Paper, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University 0840, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    13. Newman, Constance, 2012. "The Food Costs of Healthier School Lunches," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 41(1), April.
    14. Capogrossi, Kristen & You, Wen, 2013. "National School Lunch Program Menus: A Moral Hazard Problem," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C., Agricultural and Applied Economics Association 149701, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    15. repec:lan:wpaper:615522 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. David Frisvold, 2013. "Nutrition and Cognitive Achievement: An Evaluation of the School Breakfast Program," Emory Economics, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta) 1301, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
    17. Smith, Travis A., 2013. ""Billions and Billions Served" Heterogeneous Effects of Food Source on Child Dietary Quality," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C., Agricultural and Applied Economics Association 151212, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    18. Ishdorj, Ariun & Crepinsek, Mary Kay & Jensen, Helen H., 2012. "Children’s Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables: Do School Environment and Policies Affect Choice in School Meals?," 2012 AAEA/EAAE Food Environment Symposium, May 30-31, Boston, MA, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association 123534, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    19. Newman, Constance & Guthrie, Joanne & Mancino, Lisa & Snelling, Anastasia, 2013. "School Meals Experiment: Can a Taste Test Increase Vegetable Acceptance?," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C., Agricultural and Applied Economics Association 150504, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    20. Chang, Hung-Hao, 2014. "Food Preparation for the School Lunch Program and Body Weight of Elementary School Children in Taiwan," International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IAMA), International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IAMA), vol. 17(1).
    21. Georgia S. Papoutsi & Andreas C. Drichoutis & Rodolfo M. Nayga Jr., 2013. "The Causes Of Childhood Obesity: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(4), pages 743-767, 09.

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