The impact of participation in the school breakfast program on children's school outcomes
Thesis (M.P.P.)--Georgetown University, 2010.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. Advocates and policy makers argue that the School Breakfast Program not only improves children's nutrition and physical health, but that it also can promote educational success. I test this claim empirically by examining whether eating breakfast at school affects the cognitive achievement and social skills of disadvantaged third, fifth, and eighth grade students. Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey - Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K), I estimate cross-sectional ordinary least squares regression models and longitudinal fixed-effects models to isolate the effects of eating breakfast at school on child outcomes, net of characteristics of children, their families, and schools. Bivariate analyses show a strong and consistent negative relationship between eating breakfast at school and children's academic and social outcomes. However, this relationship is completely explained by children's characteristics; in multivariate and fixed-effects models, I find no effect of consuming breakfast at school on children's cognitive or social outcomes.
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