School Lunch Quality and Academic Performance


Elizabeth Ramirez Ritchie, Justin Gallagher, Michael L. Anderson


California, Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, healthy meal vendor, obesity, school food, school performance, test scores


National Bureau of Economic Research

Year Published:


Policy Summary

This paper looks at California public schools to examine the effect that serving healthy meals has on student test scores and rates of obesity. They find that in schools that serve healthy lunches, students score higher on state achievement tests than students in schools that serve less healthy food. There was no evidence that serving healthy lunches lead to lower rates of obesity. This paper provides evidence regarding the impact that school meals can have on students and suggests one method that schools could use to increase student performance.

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