Children’s Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables: Do School Environment and Policies Affect Choice At School and Away from School?

Ariun Ishdorj, Helen H. Jensen, Mary Kay Crepinsek
September 2012  [12-WP 531]

School environment and policies affect children’s healthy eating choices both at and away from school. We estimate their effect on fruit and vegetable intakes and control for the endogenous decision to participate in the National School Lunch Program. School meal participants consume more total fruits and vegetables, with relatively more at school and less away from school compared to nonparticipants. The policies had little effect on participation itself. Policies to restrict high fat milks or desserts for school lunch and selling competitive foods are associated with greater fruit and/or vegetable intake at school; some policies affected consumption of fruits and/or vegetables at home as well. Policies that encourage fruit and vegetable consumption can improve diets both at and away from school.

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