Thursday, May 11, 2017

School Lunch Quality Affects Academic Achievement

In 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. The main goal of the law was to raise the minimum nutritional standards for public school lunches served as part of the National School Lunch Program. The policy discussion surrounding the new law centered on the underlying health reasons for offering more nutritious school lunches, in particular, concern over the number of children who are overweight...

Surprisingly, the debate over the new law involved very little discussion as to whether providing a more nutritious school lunch could improve student learning.

A new study attempts to fill this gap, measuring the effect of offering healthier public school lunches on end of year academic test scores for public school students in California.

It finds that when a school contracts with a company that provides healthier lunches, students score better on end-of-year academic tests than those in schools that contract for less healthier meals...

Test scores are also 40% higher for students who qualify for reduced-price or free school lunches."

Source: Brookings Institution, 5/3/17, Quality School Meals

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