Examining the impact of the federal reimbursement rate on the nutritional content of school meals

The Foundation's program, Healthy Eating Research: Building Evidence to Prevent Childhood Obesity, was designed to support investigator-initiated research to identify and assess environmental and policy influences with the greatest potential to improve healthy eating and weight patterns among the nation's children.The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 includes the first increase in the reimbursement rate for school meals in over 30 years and will likely become effective in 2012-2013. The rationale for increasing this rate is to induce schools to offer more nutritious meals. However, there is almost no previous research about whether schools will effectively use the additional funds to provide more nutritious meals to students. This project aims to provide evidence of how the federal reimbursement rate influences the nutritional content of breakfasts offered through the School Breakfast Program (SBP). To achieve this aim, the nutritional quality of breakfasts in schools with different reimbursement rates (based on the percent of students in the school who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals) will be compared. For the SBP, schools receive an additional $0.28 per meal if they are categorized as "severe need." Data from the School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study-III and 2006 School Health Policies and Practices Study will provide nationally representative samples of schools to compare those just above and below the threshold for receiving the additional reimbursement in the SBP using a regression discontinuity design. Deliverables include multiple manuscripts for publication in economics, public health and health policy peer-reviewed journals.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $74,996.00

Awarded on: 8/22/2011

Time frame: 9/1/2011 - 8/31/2013

Grant Number: 69297


Emory University

201 Dowman Drive
Atlanta, 30322-0001


David E. Frisvold
Project Director