Food for Thought: A Quantitative Analysis of the Effects of the National School Lunch Program Open Access

Schechter, Elizabeth Ann (2016)

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This paper assesses whether National School Lunch Program participation results in different health and academic effects compared to non-participants. Using the most recent data from the 2010 cohort of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, I employ statistical methods to compare the BMIs and test scores of program participants to non-participants. National School Lunch Program participation results in higher BMIs and lower academic test scores, on average. The results hold true, even when controlling for a variety of background variables. These results confirm that children who receive a school provided lunch experience different outcomes than those who do not receive a school lunch.

Table of Contents

Introduction - 1

Literature Review - 5

Context - 5

Academic Effects - 7

Health Effects - 8

Methods - 13

Data - 13

Variables - 16

Bivariate Correlation - 18

Child BMI - 21

Child Reading Score - 24

Child Math Score - 25

Child Science Score - 26

Discussion - 27

Bibliography - 32

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