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Reading, Writing, and Refreshments: Are School Finances Contributing to Children’s Obesity?

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  • Patricia M. Anderson
  • Kristin F. Butcher

Abstract

Over the last two decades the proportion of adolescents in the United States who are obese has nearly tripled, and schools, citing financial pressures, have given students greater access to “junk” foods, using the proceeds to fund school programs. We examine whether schools under financial pressure tend to adopt potentially unhealthful food policies and whether students’ Body Mass Index (BMI) is higher where they are more likely to be exposed to these food policies. We find that a 10 percentage point increase in potential exposure to junk food in schools leads to about a 1 percent increase in students’ BMI.

Suggested Citation

  • 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).
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:41:y:2006:i:3:p467-494
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Downes, Thomas A. & Figlio, David N., 1999. "Do Tax and Expenditure Limits Provide a Free Lunch? Evidence on the Link Between Limits and Public Sector Service Quality," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(1), pages 113-128, March.
    2. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 93-118, Summer.
    3. Murphy, Kevin M & Topel, Robert H, 2002. "Estimation and Inference in Two-Step Econometric Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 88-97, January.
    4. Downes, Thomas A. & Figlio, David N., 1999. "Do Tax and Expenditure Limits Provide a Free Lunch? Evidence on the Link Between Limits and Public Sector Service Quality," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 1), pages 113-28, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Belot, Michèle & James, Jonathan, 2011. "Healthy school meals and educational outcomes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 489-504, May.
    2. Daniel L. Millimet & Rusty Tchernis & Muna Husain, 2010. "School Nutrition Programs and the Incidence of Childhood Obesity," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(3).
    3. David E. Frisvold & Julie C. Lumeng, 2011. "Expanding Exposure: Can Increasing the Daily Duration of Head Start Reduce Childhood Obesity?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(2), pages 373-402.
    4. Alois Stutzer & Armando N. Meier, 2016. "Limited Self‐control, Obesity, and the Loss of Happiness," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(11), pages 1409-1424, November.
    5. Patricia M. Anderson & Kristin F. Butcher & Diane Whitemore Schanzenbach, 2007. "Childhood Disadvantage and Obesity: Is Nurture Trumping Nature?," NBER Chapters,in: The Problems of Disadvantaged Youth: An Economic Perspective, pages 149-180 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Larry L. Howard & Nishith Prakash, 2012. "Do School Lunch Subsidies Change The Dietary Patterns Of Children From Low-Income Households?," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 30(3), pages 362-381, July.
    7. Ehmke, Mariah D. & Warziniack, Travis & Schroeter, Christiane & Morgan, Kari, 2008. "Applying Experimental Economics to Obesity in the Family Household," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 40(02), August.
    8. Angela Fertig & Gerhard Glomm & Rusty Tchernis, 2009. "The connection between maternal employment and childhood obesity: inspecting the mechanisms," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 227-255, September.
    9. 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.
    10. Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2009. "Do School Lunches Contribute to Childhood Obesity?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
    11. Robert Sandy & Gilbert Liu & John Ottensmann & Rusty Tchernis & Jeff Wilson & O. T. Ford, 2011. "Studying the Child Obesity Epidemic with Natural Experiments," NBER Chapters,in: Economic Aspects of Obesity, pages 181-221 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Richard V. Burkhauser & John Cawley & Maximilian D. Schmeiser, 2009. "Differences in the U.S. Trends in the Prevalence of Obesity Based on Body Mass Index and Skinfold Thickness," NBER Working Papers 15005, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Lichtman-Sadot, Shirlee, 2016. "Does banning carbonated beverages in schools decrease student consumption?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 30-50.
    14. 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, vol. 8(02).

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