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Analyzing Health Innovations in a School Lunch Program

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  • Grainger, Corbett
  • Senauer, Benjamin
  • Runge, C. Ford

Abstract

Hopkins School District in Minnesota implemented an innovative school feeding program, which provides nutritionally sound foods that appeal to students. With access to a unique data set containing students' food service purchases and demographic data from Hopkins High School, we use logit models to analyze the impact of different phases of the program on participation rates, as well as the effect of demographic factors. A relative healthfulness index for the foods purchased is calculated based on information provided by the school dietitian. This index is used to analyze the impact of demographic variables, student lunch expenditures, and program changes on students' lunch consumption. The results of the econometric models indicate that the program innovations have caused positive behavioral changes in most students and that students are choosing healthier foods than under the old program. Moreover, we find that ethnicity and gender play major roles in determining how students react to the new program in Hopkins.

Suggested Citation

  • Grainger, Corbett & Senauer, Benjamin & Runge, C. Ford, 2005. "Analyzing Health Innovations in a School Lunch Program," Working Papers 14393, University of Minnesota, Center for International Food and Agricultural Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:umciwp:14393
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    File URL: http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/14393/files/wp05-02.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Behrman, Jere R. & Deolalikar, Anil B., 1988. "Health and nutrition," Handbook of Development Economics,in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 631-711 Elsevier.
    2. Ralston, Katherine L. & Buzby, Jean C. & Guthrie, Joanne F., 2003. "A Healthy School Meal Environment: Food Assistance Research Brief," Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Reports 33845, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    3. John S. Akin & David K. Guilkey & Barry M. Popkin & James H. Wyckoff, 1983. "The Demand for School Lunches: An Analysis of Individual Participation in the School Lunch Program," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 18(2), pages 213-230.
    4. 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.
    5. Patricia M. Anderson & Kristin F. Butcher, 2004. "Reading, writing, and raisinets: are school finances contributing to children’s obesity?," Working Paper Series WP-04-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    6. Smith, Vernon L, 1982. "Microeconomic Systems as an Experimental Science," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 923-955, December.
    7. Variyam, Jayachandran & Blaylock, James R. & Smallwood, David, 1998. "USDA's Healthy Eating Index and Nutrition Information," Technical Bulletins 184379, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
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