A publication of AAEA

A publication of AAEA
Themes: Consumers and Markets; Agriculture and Trade

Themes: Consumers and Markets; Agriculture and Trade

Theme Overview: Weighing Healthy Choices for the School Meals Program

Helen H. Jensen
The National School Lunch Program touches the lives of most school children in the United States. The primary funding source is federal reimbursement for free and reduced -price meals. With reauthorization scheduled for next year, now is the time to address challenges of providing and paying for healthful meals to meet studentsí needs.

USDA School Meal Programs Face New Challenges

Joanne Guthrie, Constance Newman, and Katherine Ralston
The USDA National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs provide meals to almost 31 million children each school day, the majority of them at free or reduced price. With the programs currently facing congressional reauthorization, we review their history and operations, current evidence of their effects, and new challenges ahead.

Evaluating the Success of the School Commodity Food Program

Cora Peterson
Government-procured commodity foods have been an integral part of the National School Lunch Program for over 60 years. However, recent research has failed to find evidence that the school commodity food program creates substantial benefits for agricultural producers and schools.

Adequacy of Federal School Lunch Reimbursement Adjustments

Koel Ghosh and Benjamin Senauer
The adequacy of the annual adjustment in the National School Lunch Program federal reimbursement rate became a crucial issue with the rapid rise in food prices in 2007-08. This article closely examines the structure of that index and its appropriateness for tracking changes in school meal costs.

The Economics of a Healthy School Meal

Parke Wilde and Mary Kennedy
Is it economically feasible to serve healthy food in school? To address this question, think of school food service operations as not-for-profit businesses. It is possible, though challenging, to design policies that would improve school meals without violating the economic rules under which these businesses must operate.

Smarter Lunchrooms: Using Behavioral Economics to Improve Meal Selection

David R. Just and Brian Wansink
School lunch administrators face pressure to both maintain revenue and increase the health of their food offerings. In many cases, this may seem like an impossible mission. By incorporating the tools of food psychology with economics, behavioral economics may provide one way to achieve these disparate goals.