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The effect of school district nutrition policies on dietary intake and overweight: A synthetic control approach

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  • Bauhoff, Sebastian

Abstract

School nutrition policies aim to eliminate ubiquitous unhealthy foods and beverages from schools to improve adolescent dietary behavior and reduce childhood obesity. This paper evaluates the impact of an early nutrition policy, Los Angeles Unified School District's food-and-beverage standards of 2004, using two large datasets on food intake and physical measures. I implement cohort and cross-section estimators using “synthetic” control groups, combinations of unaffected districts that are reweighted to closely resemble the treatment unit in the pre-intervention period. The results indicate that the policy was mostly ineffective at reducing the prevalence of overweight or obesity 8–15 months after the intervention but significantly decreased consumption of two key targets, soda and fried foods. The policy's impact on physical outcomes appears to be mitigated by substitution toward foods that are still (or newly) available in the schools.

Suggested Citation

  • Bauhoff, Sebastian, 2014. "The effect of school district nutrition policies on dietary intake and overweight: A synthetic control approach," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 12(C), pages 45-55.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:12:y:2014:i:c:p:45-55
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2013.06.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ferman, Bruno & Pinto, Cristine Campos de Xavier & Possebom, Vitor Augusto, 2016. "Cherry picking with synthetic controls," Textos para discussão 420, FGV/EESP - Escola de Economia de São Paulo, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    2. Bibek Adhikari, 2015. "When Does Introducing a Value-Added Tax Increase Economic Efficiency? Evidence from the Synthetic Control Method," Working Papers 1524, Tulane University, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2015.
    3. Ferman, Bruno & Pinto, Cristine, 2016. "Revisiting the Synthetic Control Estimator," MPRA Paper 73982, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2017. "Social Insurance and Health," IZA Discussion Papers 10918, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Bibek Adhikari & James Alm, 2016. "Evaluating the Economic Effects of Flat Tax Reforms Using Synthetic Control Methods," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 437-463, October.
    6. Maïmouna DIAKITE & Jean-François BRUN & Souleymane DIARRA & Nasser ARY TANIMOUNE, 2017. "The effects of tax coordination on the tax revenue mobilization in West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU)," Working Papers 201712, CERDI.
    7. Zeng, Di & Thomsen, Michael R. & Nayga, Rodolfo M. & Rouse, Heather L., 2016. "Middle school transition and body weight outcomes: Evidence from Arkansas Public Schoolchildren," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 64-74.
    8. Klößner, Stefan & Pfeifer, Gregor, 2015. "Synthesizing Cash for Clunkers: Stabilizing the Car Market, Hurting the Environment," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113207, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    9. Bibek Adhikari & Romain A Duval & Bingjie Hu & Prakash Loungani, 2016. "Can Reform Waves Turn the Tide? Some Case Studies Using the Synthetic Control Method," IMF Working Papers 16/171, International Monetary Fund.
    10. Pichler, Stefan & Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2016. "Labor Market Effects of US Sick Pay Mandates," IZA Discussion Papers 9867, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Kaul, Ashok & Klößner, Stefan & Pfeifer, Gregor & Schieler, Manuel, 2015. "Synthetic Control Methods: Never Use All Pre-Intervention Outcomes Together With Covariates," MPRA Paper 83790, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Kleis, Mischa & Moessinger, Marc-Daniel, 2016. "The long-run effect of fiscal consolidation on economic growth: Evidence from quantitative case studies," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-047, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Obesity; Child health; Schools; Public policy; Causal inference; Synthetic control;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General

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