For those of you reading this who know me fairly well, you know that my dissertation research examined school meal programs–specifically the School Breakfast Program and National School Lunch Program. Here is a little taste of my research for all you curious cats out there.
Basically, I’m concerned with childhood misnourishment. I use the word misnourishment rather than malnourishment because in the United States more children suffer from nutritional deficiencies as opposed to lack of food. Both types of childhood misnourishment, overweight/obesity and underweight, are accompanied by serious health consequences and a heavy economic burden. In 2008, 19.6% of U.S. children aged 6 to 11 and 18.1% of adolescents aged 12 to 19 were obese equating to 13 million children. Furthermore, in 2006, 2.7% of U.S. children aged 6 to 11 is 2.7% and 3.9% of adolescents aged 12 to 19 were underweight translating to 2.4 million children.
My dissertation contains three essays on the relationship between child weight, school meal program participation and academic performance. The first essay examines how childrens’ weight impacts their academic performance using a quantile analysis while controlling for potential simultaneity between weight and school outcomes. Results indicate that programs targeting child weight could potentially have positive spillover effects on academic performance leading to the question of what can be done to mitigate the problem.
Since children consume one-third to one-half of their daily calories while in school each day, school level programs are natural and potentially crucial policy instruments to tackle misnourishment. Specifically, the School Breakfast Program (SBP) and National School Lunch Program (NSLP) are two federally-funded programs providing meals to over 31.7 million children daily. The second essay examines the impact of these programs on child weight using a simultaneous multiple treatment analysis controlling for self-selection into the programs.
The third essay then investigates whether these programs have spillover effects on academic performance using structural equation modeling and simultaneous equation methodologies. Each of these essays provides further insight to the relationship between child weight, school meal program participation and academic performance offering potential policy implications to tackling child misnourishment.
So why am I bringing this up? Somewhat recently there was an article in The Economist on a new company trying to make school meals healthier! I was elated!
Basically, the principal of a charter school in Harlem decided to switch food suppliers in January after a student fainted from hunger because she refused to eat the “nasty food” served in the cafeteria. Since choosing the new food supplier, the proportion of children choosing to accept free meals at his school has gone from less than half to over 85%. In addition, visits to the school nurse plummeted and there are rarely complaints of stomach-aches and headaches.
This new food supplier is Revolution Foods out of California, and the company serves nearly 1 million meals a week in nearly 1,000 schools across the U.S. The company uses healthy and locally produced food with an emphasis on children designing and testing the meals. None of the food contains high-fructose corn syrup or trans-fats. It is hormone- and antibiotic-free and sometimes organic. I think this is more of what we want to be feeding our children.
Furthermore, Revolution Foods receives daily reports on what is not being eaten. If necessary, the company will send someone to promote particular foods or create signs in order to boost demand. A school (and parents!) can’t go wrong with that!
I just found this extremely interesting and wanted to share!
Quote from Adulting:
“Don’t date someone you’re not crazy about, or who isn’t crazy about you.”
Friday: 14.5 miles indoor bike; 30 minute Insanity class; hip strengthening exercises; 3.8 mile walk; KICKBALL!
Saturday: 75 minutes elliptical; 30 minutes weights + hip strengthening exercises; 2.5 mile walk
Sunday: 20.20 mile outdoor ride (averaging 14.3mph!); 40 minutes elliptical; hip strengthening exercises; 3.4 mile walk
Did you know that July is National Blueberry Month?? Well, it is! There is a North American Blueberry Council and everything! You definitely need to check out if there is a Blueberry Festival near you! There isn’t one near me that I could find.
So, in celebration I made this Blueberry Buttermilk Bundt Cake over the weekend to take to Flyball practice! Delish! It would be perfect for breakfast with tea or coffee. I’m not a tea or coffee drinker, but I’m just sayin’ it would be. And I know it isn’t healthy, and I just gave my whole dissertation sch-peel on misnourishment and healthier school meals, but we are adults and we can consume in moderation and still eat our veggies, right??
On that note, I have a funny story (at least it’s funny to me). Back in February of 2012 I did several fly-outs for job interviews (that’s what my industry calls them anyway). Basically, the company shows you around, has you meet people and then you give a presentation. At one of these fly-outs my presentation was at 10am, and someone in the office had brought in donuts. Several of the people who came to watch my presentation had a donut in front of them. As I got further into my presentation, the eating of the donuts slowed, and 30 minutes later when I was finished not one person had finished his/her donut. During the Q&A session, one person made a comment that my presentation had guilt-tripped her into not finishing her donut. Everyone else nodded in agreement! Haha–I guess I saved some people a few calories that day! Or maybe they just finished their donuts alone in their offices after the presentation…that’s what I would have done. We will never know.
Blueberry Buttermilk Bundt Cake
– 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
– 3 cups plus 2 tbsp AP flour
– 2.5 tsp baking powder
– 1.25 tsp salt
– 1.75 cups granulated sugar
– 1/4 cup vegetable oil
– 4 large eggs, at room temperature
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 3/4 cup buttermilk
– 2 cups blueberries (about 1 pint)
– Preheat the oven to 350*. Generously butter a nonstick 12-cup bundt pan. Whisk 3 cups flour, the baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
– Beat 2 sticks butter, the granulated sugar and vegetable oil in a bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, at least 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
– Reduce the mixer speed to low; beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in the vanilla.
– Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk; beat until almost incorporated. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture and the remaining buttermilk. Beat, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until just combined. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat 30 seconds. Finish incorporating the flour by hand to avoid overmixing.
– Toss the blueberries with the remaining 2 tbsp flour in a small bowl. Spoon 1/3 of the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Sprinkle in half of the blueberries, then top with another 1/3 of the batter. Scatter the remaining blueberries on top and cover with the rest of the batter; smooth the top.
– Bake until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (about 1 hour to 1 hour, 10 minutes). Transfer to a rack and let cool 30 minutes in the pan. Run a small sharp knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake, then invert onto the rack to cool completely.
Adapted from Food Network Magazine