Evaluating the Impacts of School Nutrition and Physical Activity Policies on Child Health

by Meenakshi Maria Fernandes

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This dissertation evaluates the impact of elementary school policies on child health behaviors and obesity in the United States. Two chapters address nutrition policies, two chapters address physical activity policies, and a final chapter estimates the health care cost savings associated with a decline in childhood obesity prevalence. The use of large national datasets allows for the investigation of disparities by child, school and regional factors. This is in contrast to other studies which are based on a limited geographic area or small, demographically homogeneous samples.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Facility Provision in Elementary Schools: Correlates with Physical Education, Recess and Obesity

  • Chapter Two

    The Role of School Physical Activity Programs in Childhood Body Mass Trajectory

  • Chapter Three

    The Effect of Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Availability in Elementary Schools on Consumption

  • Chapter Four

    The Impact of State Policies on the School Competitive Food Environment, Dietary Intake and Obesity

  • Chapter Five

    Estimating the Lifecycle Costs Associated with Childhood Obesity

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This document was submitted as a dissertation in December 2009 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Roland Sturm (Chair), Pierre-Carl Michaud, Chloe Bird, and Don Bundy. This dissertation was supported by the Jim Lovelace Foundation, Active Living Research (a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation), and RAND Health.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Dissertation series. Pardee RAND dissertations are produced by graduate fellows of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's leading producer of Ph.D.'s in policy analysis. The dissertations are supervised, reviewed, and approved by a Pardee RAND faculty committee overseeing each dissertation.

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