Graduation Year

2016

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Economics

Reader 1

Roberto Pedace

Reader 2

Sean Flynn

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© 2015 Rosario W Bennett

Abstract

Obesity and overweight attributable deaths together are the second highest cause of death in the United States, according to the National Institute of Health. Obesity, diabetes, and heart disease also have an enormous economic cost to the American government and its citizens due to the rising cost of health care. The medical community agrees that preventive care, particularly diet, plays a crucial role in solving this health crisis.

The Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 drastically changed the requirements of the National School Lunch Program in order to increase nutrition in school lunches. This thesis seeks to understand how improved health outcomes for children as well as adults. This paper analyzes previous research from the fields of Health and Behavioral Economics. It also conducts an empirical analysis of data from the California Health Interview Survey to understand the effects of the policy food on consumption of children and adults. Using theories from Behavioral Economics, the study hypothesizes that child and adult consumption of nutritious food increased following the implementation of this policy. The results of the empirical analysis do not entirely support the hypothesis that children’s and adult’s consumption of nutritious food increased. Food consumption is highly sensitive to a wide range of influences, and further empirical research accounting for these influences must be conducted to fully understand the potential benefits of public policy on health.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff. It is not available for interlibrary loan. Please send a request for access through Contact Us.

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