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Evaluating the Impact of School Nutrition Programs: Final Report

by Jayanta Bhattacharya, Janet Currie, Steven J. Haider, and Jayachandran Variyam

Electronic Publications from the Food Assistance & Nutrition Research Program No. (EFAN-04008) 58 pp, July 2004

This study develops estimates of the efficacy of school nutrition programs in improving a broad range of dietary outcomes by comparing the nutritional status of students and their families during the school year with the status when school is out. The study finds evidence that children who have a School Breakfast Program (SBP) available consume a better overall diet, consume a lower percentage of calories from fat, are less likely to have a low intake of magnesium, and are less likely to have low serum levels of vitamin C and folate. For every outcome examined, SBP availability either promotes better outcomes or at the least does not promote worse outcomes. The results of this study suggest that the availability of an SBP has beneficial effects for children. This report describes the study's broad evaluation of the SBP and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). The study used the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey III (NHANES III)—a nationally representative data set that contains detailed information on food consumption, a complete clinical exam, and a laboratory report for respondents.

Keywords: National School Lunch Program, NSLP, School Breakfast Program, SBP, dietary quality, NHANES, Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program, FANRP

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Last updated: Wednesday, March 18, 2015

For more information contact: Jayanta Bhattacharya, Janet Currie, Steven J. Haider, and Jayachandran Variyam