Eastern Economic Journal

, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 328–345

National School Lunch Program Participation and Child Body Weight

  • Donka M Mirtcheva
  • Lisa M Powell

DOI: 10.1057/eej.2012.14

Cite this article as:
Mirtcheva, D. & Powell, L. Eastern Econ J (2013) 39: 328. doi:10.1057/eej.2012.14


This paper examines the relationship between National School Lunch Program (NSLP) participation and body weight using longitudinal data for public school children in grades 1–12. NSLP participation is associated with higher body weight among girls, but not boys. Quantile regression results show higher body mass index percentile for girls between the 25th–90th quantiles (whereas associations occur at the 75th–85th quantiles for boys and are smaller in magnitude compared to girls. Accounting for time-invariant unobserved heterogeneity, individual-level fixed effects models found no significant effect of NSLP participation for the full sample or by gender, suggesting that the associations are not causal.


body mass indexobesityNational School Lunch Programadolescentsgender

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Copyright information

© Eastern Economic Association 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donka M Mirtcheva
    • 1
  • Lisa M Powell
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsThe College of New JerseyEwingUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA