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Do School Lunches Contribute to Childhood Obesity?

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  • Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2009. "Do School Lunches Contribute to Childhood Obesity?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:44:y:2009:i3:p684-709
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    File URL: http://jhr.uwpress.org/cgi/reprint/44/3/684
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jayanta Bhattacharya & Janet Currie & Steven J. Haider, 2006. "Breakfast of Champions?: The School Breakfast Program and the Nutrition of Children and Families," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(3).
    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. Jayanta Bhattacharya & Janet Currie & Steven J. Haider, 2006. "Breakfast of Champions?: The School Breakfast Program and the Nutrition of Children and Families," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press.
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