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Abstract

The Physical Education and Nutrition Education Working Together (PE-Nut) program was evaluated to determine the impact nutrition and physical education has on students’ academic performance. Administrative data was collected from 8 Traverse City Michigan Area Public Schools (TCAPS), four schools that administered PE-Nut (treatment) and four schools that did not administer PE-Nut (control). Regression analysis was utilized to identify the treatment effect of PE-Nut on students’ academic performance. Overweight and obese students that participated in PE-Nut were 12% and 9% more likely to be proficient in reading. For math and writing, overweight and obese students that participated in PE-Nut were 22% and 13% more likely to be proficient at math, and 14% and 13% more likely to be proficient in writing. Implications from these results are nutrition and physical education programs can have a positive spillover effect on students’ academic performance. The estimated economic impact of students participating in PE-Nut suggests that participants can improve their future wages by nearly $10,000.

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