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See other articles in PMC that cite the published article. Abstract Despite limited empirical evidence, there is growing concern that junk food availability in schools has contributed to the childhood obesity epidemic.
In this paper, we estimate the effects of junk food availability on BMI, obesity, and related outcomes among a national sample of fifth-graders. Our main finding is that junk food availability does not significantly increase BMI or obesity among this fifth grade cohort despite the increased likelihood of in-school junk food purchases.
Moreover, the absence of any effects on overall food consumption and physical activity further support the null findings for BMI and obesity. Junk food, Competitive foods, Obesity 1. Introduction The prevalence of childhood obesity in the US is at an all-time high with nearly one-third of all children and adolescents now considered overweight or obese Ogden et al Considerable attention has been focused on schools in an attempt to identify policy levers that will help reverse the obesity epidemic.
On the other hand, supporters argue that revenues from these food sales provide much-needed funding for schools, especially in times of budgetary pressures Gordon et al a.
The debate draws from largely cross-sectional research that rarely addresses the potential endogeneity of the school food environment. We use longitudinal data on BMI for a national sample of fifth graders from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study — Kindergarten Class ECLS-K and an instrumental variables IV approach that leverages the well-documented fact that junk foods are significantly more prevalent in middle and high schools relative to elementary schools Finkelstein, Hill and Whitaker Plausibly exogenous variation in junk food availability across a cohort of fifth graders is identified using the grade structure in their schools.
We argue that a fifth grader attending a combined e. K-8, K or middle school e. First-stage regressions confirm that combined school attendance is a strong predictor of junk food availability. Further tests for instrument validity including an examination of sorting and peer effects support our use of the instrument.
We find that junk food availability has small positive associations with BMI and obesity in basic OLS models that only control for a limited set of covariates, but those associations become insignificant when controls for BMI at school entry and state fixed effects are added.
Our IV models, which address potential bias in the OLS models, generate somewhat larger, albeit less precise, point estimates that are also not statistically significant. Even if the IV point estimates were statistically significant, they would still represent only minor increases in BMI and obesity, generally one-third of one percent.
These results are robust to alternative measures of junk food availability and sample restrictions. The models also produce the expected findings on various falsification tests. Our estimates suggest that the caloric contributions of in-school junk food purchases are likely to be small.
Moreover, we find evidence consistent with substitution between in- and out-of-school consumption. Specifically, the total amount of soda and fast food consumed in- and out-of-school, is not significantly higher among those children with greater exposure to junk food in school i.
And, finally, we find little support for the notion that children substitute calories from healthy foods or increase their physical activity to compensate for increased junk food intake.
The remainder of this paper is organized as follows. We first discuss junk food availability in schools and the findings from the existing literature in Section 2. Section 3 describes our data and relevant analysis variables.
In Section 4, we describe our empirical strategy, which leverages longitudinal information on BMI and implements an instrumental variables approach to identify the causal impact of junk food availability. We also present supporting evidence from models of in-school purchases of junk food, total consumption of various healthy and unhealthy items, and physical activity.
Finally, Section 6 concludes with the policy implications of our findings. As a result, competitive foods account for much of the variation in the food environment across schools. Competitive foods are available in a large share of schools, although the availability of these foods varies significantly across elementary, middle, and high schools.
Sales of competitive foods have the potential to generate significant revenues for schools. These revenues may in turn be supplemented by on-site school stores and pouring contracts with beverage companies. While availability and revenues were less common in elementary schools, nearly half of elementary schools had pouring rights contracts, and competitive food sales from fundraising activities were also common.
In recent years, several states, districts, and schools have enacted competitive food policies that are more restrictive than federal regulations. And, between andapproximately pieces of legislation were introduced in US state legislatures to establish nutritional standards in schools or to address the availability or quality of competitive foods Boehmer et al More recently, there has been debate in the US Congress over enacting an amendment to the farm bill that would further restrict the sale of unhealthy foods and beverages in schools Black At the local level, two of the largest school districts in the nation, New York City Public School District and Los Angeles Unified School District, imposed a ban on soda vending in schools in andrespectively.
The literature does provide some evidence of substitution of caloric intake across meals and locations among adults Anderson and Matsabut the evidence is less clear regarding children for whom parental oversight can also play a role. Only Kubik and colleagues have examined 24 hour dietary recall and BMI among children, however these studies are based on small cross-sectional samples and do not address the potential endogeneity of the school food environment.Despite limited empirical evidence, there is growing concern that junk food availability in schools has contributed to the childhood obesity epidemic.
In this paper, we estimate the effects of junk food availability on BMI, obesity, and related outcomes among a national sample of fifth-graders. Members of the high junk food group were times more likely to be in the low attainment category than were members of the low junk food group.
The effect of consuming energy drinks was no longer significant in this analysis. A fast food nation essay should also mention the increasing obesity problems in America and other parts of world, due to consumption of junk foods at a higher rate.
Fast Food Persuasive Essay Persuasive essay on fast food also discusses that fast food has become a significant part of the socio-economic culture, in various parts of the world, mainly in America.
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A . Despite limited empirical evidence, there is growing concern that junk food availability in schools has contributed to the childhood obesity epidemic. In this paper, we estimate the effects of junk food availability on BMI, obesity, and related outcomes among a national sample of fifth-graders.