The Influence of the School Breakfast Program and National School Lunch Program on Child Weight and Academic Achievement

Influence School Food Program

Two types of childhood misnourishment, overweight/obesity and underweight, plague the United States with far-reaching consequences on children. In 2008, 13 million U.S. children and adolescents were obese, with those of low socio-economic status in rural areas more likely to be overweight. Furthermore, in 2006, 2.4 million children and adolescents were underweight.

In her RIDGE Center for Targeted Studies-supported doctoral dissertation research, "The Influence of the School Breakfast Program and National School Lunch Program on Child Weight and Academic Achievement," Kristen Capogrossi pays particular attention to low-income children, since 20 million program participants receive free- and reduced-price meals, as well as rural children, since National School Lunch Program participation rates are about 37 percent higher for rural children compared to non-rural children. Furthermore, low-income and rural children are more likely to be misnourished.

The study explores several questions:
1. What are key determinants of program participation?
2. What are the direct impacts of program participation on child BMI?
3. What are the direct and indirect impacts of program participation on academic performance?
4. What are other key determinants of child weight and academic performance?

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