Considering most children spend a majority of their weekdays at school and, on average, obtain more than one-third of their daily caloric intake from meals consumed at school during the school year, school is a natural place to implement nutrition policies that would help develop healthy eating habits and improve health and well-being of children. At the same time, local school meal policies may influence what foods are offered and how the foods are prepared. In this regard, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) two school meal programs can play an important role in children’s diets and food habit formation and thus positively influence children’s health. The focus of our research is children’s intakes of fruits and vegetables by location of consumption. We include intake of the fruits and vegetables at school and at home and evaluate whether the school meal intake substitutes or supplements intake at home. We use data from the third School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study (SNDA-III), and estimate jointly the student’s latent consumption of target foods (fruits and vegetables) by location of consumption and the student’s endogenous decision to participate in the school meal program. We find demographic effects influence consumption, and although school food policies examined had little effect on participation in the school meal program, some school policies do affect fruits and vegetables consumption. There is evidence that increased exposure to fruits and vegetables in school will positively affect home consumption.


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