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The National School Lunch Program: Background, Trends, and Issues

  • Ralston, Katherine L.
  • Newman, Constance
  • Clauson, Annette L.
  • Guthrie, Joanne F.
  • Buzby, Jean C.

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is the Nation’s second largest food and nutrition assistance program. In 2006, it operated in over 101,000 public and nonprofit private schools and provided over 28 million low-cost or free lunches to children on a typical school day at a Federal cost of $8 billion for the year. This report provides background information on the NSLP, including historical trends and participant characteristics. It also addresses steps being taken to meet challenges facing administrators of the program, including tradeoffs between nutritional quality of foods served, costs, and participation, as well as between program access and program integrity.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/56464
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Paper provided by United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service in its series Economic Research Report with number 56464.

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Date of creation: Jul 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ags:uersrr:56464
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  1. Anonymous & Hamilton, William L. & Lin, Biing-Hwan, 2004. "Effects Of Food Assistance And Nutrition Programs On Nutrition And Health: Volume 3, Literature Review," Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Reports 33863, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  2. Sharon K. Long, 1991. "Do the School Nutrition Programs Supplement Household Food Expenditures?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(4), pages 654-678.
  3. Philip M. Gleason & Carol W. Suitor, 2003. "Eating at School: How the National School Lunch Program Affects Children's Diets," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(4), pages 1047-1061.
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