IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Breakfast of Champions? The School Breakfast Program and the Nutrition of Children and Families

Listed author(s):
  • Jayanta Bhattacharya
  • Janet Currie
  • Steven Haider

We use the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) III to examine the effect of the availability of the school breakfast program (SBP). Our work builds on previous research in four ways: First, we develop a transparent difference-in-differences strategy to account for unobserved differences between students with access to SBP and those without. Second, we examine serum measures of nutrient in addition to intakes based on dietary recall data. Third, we ask whether the SBP improves the diet by increasing/or decreasing the intake of nutrients relative to meaningful threshold levels. Fourth, we examine the effect of the SBP on other members of the family besides the school-aged child. We have three main findings. First, the SBP helps students build good eating habits: SBP increases scores on the healthy eating index, reduces the percentage of calories from fat, and reduces the probability of low fiber intake. Second, the SBP reduces the probability of serum micronutrient deficiencies in vitamin C, vitamin E, and folate, and it increases the probability that children meet USDA recommendations for potassium and iron intakes. Since we find no effect on total calories these results indicate that the program improves the quality of food consumed. Finally, in households with school-aged children, both preschool children and adults have healthier diets and consume less fat when the SBP is available. These results suggest that school nutrition programs may be an effective way to combat both nutritional deficiencies and excess consumption among children and their families.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10608.

in new window

Date of creation: Jul 2004
Publication status: published as Bhattacharya J, Currie J, and Haider S, “Breakfast of Champions? The Nutritional Effects of the School Breakfast Program,” Journal of Human Resources (2006) 41(3):445-466.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10608
Contact details of provider: Postal:
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.

Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. John S. Akin & David K. Guilkey & Barry M. Popkin, 1983. "The School Lunch Program and Nutrient Intake: A Switching Regression Analysis," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 65(3), pages 477-485.
  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. Philip M. Gleason, "undated". "Participation in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 1e9d5e496d6b42b38984ce808, Mathematica Policy Research.
  4. Barbara Devaney & Thomas Fraker, 1989. "The Dietary Impacts of the School Breakfast Program," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 71(4), pages 932-948.
  5. Barbara L. Devaney & Elizabeth A. Stuart, 1998. "Eating Breakfast: Effects of the School Breakfast Program," Mathematica Policy Research Reports d6ccf0f21e6b4d8a8e9cfa650, Mathematica Policy Research.
  6. John Burghardt & Barbara L. Devaney & Anne Gordon, "undated". "The School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study: Summary and Discussion," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 729306c8cd1e4a28b52d42f6f, Mathematica Policy Research.
  7. John Burghardt, "undated". "School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study: Overview of the Study Design," Mathematica Policy Research Reports ff17bfa8e2ae44d59e7c9282e, Mathematica Policy Research.
  8. Behrman, Jere R., 1993. "Intrahousehold distribution and the family," Handbook of Population and Family Economics,in: M. R. Rosenzweig & Stark, O. (ed.), Handbook of Population and Family Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 125-187 Elsevier.
  9. Nord, Mark, 2005. "Measuring U.S. Household Food Security," Amber Waves, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, April.
  10. Hanan G. Jacoby, 2002. "Is There an Intrahousehold "Flypaper Effect"? Evidence From a School Feeding Programme," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(476), pages 196-221, January.
  11. repec:mpr:mprres:1508 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. repec:mpr:mprres:1917 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. repec:mpr:mprres:1513 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. repec:mpr:mprres:1531 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Jay Bhattacharya & Janet Currie, 2001. "Youths at Nutrition Risk: Malnourished or Misnourished?," NBER Chapters,in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 483-522 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Anne Gordon & Barbara L. Devaney & John Burghardt, "undated". "Dietary Effects of the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 0ef69f1c7c6a4b3eac82650c5, Mathematica Policy Research.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10608. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.