Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Elise Ferree

Reader 2

Sarah Gilman

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Rights Information

2021 Anuj A Devatha


Despite improvements in the school food environment, overall childhood obesity rates continue to rise with vast disparities between race/ethnic groups. The modern obesogenic environment experienced by children is composed of elements from school, the home, and the neighborhood. Signals from each of these locations encourage obesity-inducing behaviors. However, schools are the primary target of regulation because they receive federal funding, include set schedules, and are easily observable. The implementation of the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act in 2010 (HHFKA) was somewhat successful in improving consumption behaviors in the school environment, particularly for children in poverty. However, it did not impact the overall risk for childhood obesity and significant disparities remain. I propose an intervention that targets schools that do not satisfy current federal requirements, combining an enhanced version of HHFKA with observation of neighborhood and family characteristics. I hypothesize that improved school nutrition policy will mainly reach children with a familial history of obesity and children in poverty. However, I do not believe that it will reduce the overall rate of childhood obesity significantly. Should results of this study confirm my hypothesis, additional research should consider neighborhood-level interventions that improve access to healthful foods and culture-specific family-level interventions. Otherwise, policy makers should build on the HHFKA, whilst adopting recommended improvements.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.