Project: Using Nudges From Cafeterias and Parents To Encourage Healthy Food Choices at School
Award Year: 2010
Amount of award, fiscal 2010: $175,000.00
Institution: Baylor College of Medicine
Principal Investigator: Karen Cullen
Status: Ongoing
Detailed Objective: This project will develop and test the effectiveness of a school-based intervention based on behavioral economic theory that encourages students to make healthy food choices in the school cafeteria by connecting the cafeteria and the home, via “nudges.” Specifically, participating school cafeterias in Houston, TX, will market targeted healthy foods via messaging and presentations. In addition, foodservice staff will support these marketing efforts by encouraging children’s selection of the targeted foods as the children go through the serving line. Finally, coordinated messages about the lunch menus and targeted foods will be designed for parents and communicated to them via electronic technology (e.g., website, Facebook, Twitter). Researchers will implement the program and evaluate its impact on student daily food selections in 6 intervention school cafeterias with about 4,800 students over an entire school year. Using time series analysis methods, researchers will compare student food choices at intervention schools with those at six matched comparison schools.
Topic: Behavioral Economics, Child Nutrition, Dietary Intake and Quality, School Lunch and Breakfast
Cullen, K., J. Dave, A. Oceguera, D. Thompson, and T. Chen. The Feasibility of Using Nudges in the School Food Environment to Influence Healthy Food Choices at School, Contractor and Cooperator Report No. 78, USDA, ERS, January 2013.