Healthy school meals and educational outcomes


Belot, M. and James, J., 2011. Healthy school meals and educational outcomes. Journal of Health Economics, 30 (3), 489–504.

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This paper provides field evidence on the effects of diet on educational outcomes, exploiting a campaign lead in the UK in 2004, which introduced drastic changes in the meals offered in the schools of one borough – Greenwich – shifting from low-budget processed meals towards healthier options. We evaluate the effect of the campaign on educational outcomes in primary schools using a difference in differences approach; comparing educational outcomes in primary schools (Key Stage 2 outcomes more specifically) before and after the reform, using the neighbouring Local Education Authorities as a control group. We find evidence that educational outcomes did improve significantly in English and Science. We also find that authorised absences – which are most likely linked to illness and health – fell by 14%.


Item Type Articles
CreatorsBelot, M.and James, J.
Uncontrolled Keywordschild nutrition,child health,school meals,education,natural experiment,health and wellbeing
DepartmentsFaculty of Humanities & Social Sciences > Economics
Research Centres & Institutes > Institute for Policy Research
ID Code32005


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