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School Nutrition Programs and the Incidence of Childhood Obesity

  • Daniel L. Millimet
  • Rusty Tchernis
  • Muna Husain

In light of the recent rise in childhood obesity, the School Breakfast Program (SBP) and National School Lunch Program (NSLP) have received renewed attention. Using panel data on over 13,500 primary school students, we assess the relationship between SBP and NSLP participation and (relatively) long-run measures of child weight. After documenting a positive association between SBP participation and child weight, and no association between NSLP participation and child weight, we present evidence indicating positive selection into the SBP. Allowing for even modest positive selection is sufficient to alter the results, indicating that the SBP is a valuable tool in the current battle against childhood obesity, whereas the NSLP exacerbates the current epidemic.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w14297.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14297.

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Date of creation: Sep 2008
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Publication status: published as 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).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14297
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  1. Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 2003. "Does Matching Overcome Lalonde's Critique of Nonexperimental Estimators?," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20035, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  2. Jacoby, Hanan, 1997. "Is there an intrahousehold 'flypaper effect'?," FCND discussion papers 31, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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  5. Daniel Millimet & Rusty Tchernis, 2008. "On the Specification of Propensity Scores: with Applications to the Analysis of Trade Policies," Caepr Working Papers 2006-013_Updated, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  6. 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.
  7. Jayanta Bhattacharya & Janet Currie & Steven Haider, 2004. "Breakfast of Champions? The School Breakfast Program and the Nutrition of Children and Families," NBER Working Papers 10608, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2000. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," NBER Working Papers 7831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Ferraro, Paul J. & McIntosh, Craig & Ospina, Monica, 2007. "The effectiveness of the US endangered species act: An econometric analysis using matching methods," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 245-261, November.
  10. Sara Bleich & David Cutler & Christopher Murray & Alyce Adams, 2007. "Why Is The Developed World Obese?," NBER Working Papers 12954, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Sandra L. Hofferth & Sally Curtin, 2005. "Poverty, food programs, and childhood obesity," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(4), pages 703-726.
  12. 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.
  13. 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).
  14. Heckman, James J. & Lalonde, Robert J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 1999. "The economics and econometrics of active labor market programs," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1865-2097 Elsevier.
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