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Do School Lunch Subsidies Change the Dietary Patterns of Children from Low- Income Households?

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  • Larry Howard

    ()
    (California State University, Fullerton)

  • Nishith Prakash

    ()
    (Cornell University, CReAM, and IZA)

Abstract

This article examines the effects of school lunch subsidies provided through the meanstested component of the National School Lunch Program on the dietary patterns of children age 10- to 13 yr in the USA. Analyzing data on 5,140 public school children in 5th grade during spring 2004, we find significant increases in the number of servings of fruit, green salad, carrots, other vegetables, and 100 percent fruit juice consumed in one week for subsidized children relative to unsubsidized children. The effects on fruit and other vegetable consumption are stronger among the children receiving a full subsidy, as opposed to only a partial subsidy, and indicate the size of the subsidy is an important policy lever underlying the program's effectiveness. Overall, the findings provide the strongest empirical evidence to date that the means-tested school lunch subsidies increase children's consumption over a time period longer than one school day.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London in its series CReAM Discussion Paper Series with number 1101.

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Date of creation: Jan 2011
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Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:1101

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Keywords: National School Lunch Program; Dietary Patterns; Means-Tested Subsidies;

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  1. Daniel Millimet & Rusty Tchernis & Muna Hussain, 2007. "School Nutrition Programs and the Incidence of Childhood Obesity," Caepr Working Papers, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington 2007-014, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  2. Patricia M. Anderson & Kristin F. Butcher, 2006. "Reading, Writing, and Refreshments: Are School Finances Contributing to Children’s Obesity?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(3).
  3. Robert A. Moffitt, 2003. "Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number moff03-1.
  4. Kaufman, Phillip R. & MacDonald, James M. & Lutz, Steve M. & Smallwood, David M., 1997. "Do the Poor Pay More for Food? Item Selection and Price Differences Affect Low-Income Household Food Costs," Agricultural Economics Reports, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service 34065, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
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Cited by:
  1. 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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