Brigham Young University study: Paying kids gets them to eat vegetables

21 Dec

Moi wrote in School lunches: The political hot potato:
There are some very good reasons why meals are provided at schools. Education Bug has a history of the school lunch program http://www.educationbug.org/a/the-history-of-the-school-lunch-program.html

President Harry S. Truman began the national school lunch program in 1946 as a measure of national security. He did so after reading a study that revealed many young men had been rejected from the World War II draft due to medical conditions caused by childhood malnutrition. Since that time more than 180 million lunches have been served to American children who attend either a public school or a non-profit private school.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (Agriculture Department) has a School Lunch Program Fact Sheet http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/lunch/aboutlunch/NSLPFactSheet.pdf

According to the fact sheet, more than 30 million children are fed by the program. Physicians for Responsible Medicine criticize the content of school lunch programs
In Healthy School Lunches the physicians group says:

Menus in most school lunch programs are too high in saturated fat and cholesterol and too low in fiber- and nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes (see PCRM’s 2008 School Lunch Report Card). Major changes are needed to encourage the health of the nation’s youth and to reverse the growing trends of obesity, early-onset diabetes, and hypertension, among other chronic diseases, in children and teens. http://www.pcrm.org/health/healthy-school-lunches/changes/key-changes-recommended-for-the-national-school

A 2003 General Accounting Office (GAO) reached the same conclusion. See, School Lunch Program: Efforts Needed to Improve Nutrition and Encourage and Healthy Eating http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-03-506 https://drwilda.com/2011/11/03/school-lunches-the-political-hot-potato/

Science Daily reported in the article, Study: Pay Kids to Eat Fruits, Vegetables:

The good news: Research suggests that a new federal rule has prompted the nation’s schools to serve an extra $5.4 million worth of fruits and vegetables each day.
The bad news: The nation’s children throw about $3.8 million of that in the garbage each day.
Researchers from Brigham Young University and Cornell observed three schools adjust to new school lunch standards that require a serving of fruits or vegetables on every student’s tray — whether the child intends to eat it or not. As they report in the December issue of Public Health Nutrition, students discarded 70 percent of the extra fruits and vegetables.
“We saw a minor increase in kids eating the items, but there are other ways to achieve the same goal that are much, much cheaper,” said BYU economics professor Joe Price.
Strange as it sounds, directly paying students to eat a fruit or vegetable is less expensive and gets better results.
With Cornell’s David Just, Price conducted a second study to measure the effect of small rewards in the lunchroom. The week-long experiments took on different twists in the 15 different schools — some could earn a nickel, others a quarter, and others a raffle ticket for a larger prize. But the results were generally the same. As the scholars report in The Journal of Human Resources, offering small rewards increased the fruit and vegetable consumption by 80 percent. And the amount of wasted food declined by 33 percent.
Which begs the question: Is benevolent bribery a better way?
“Parents are often misguided about incentives,” Price said. “We feel a sense of dirtiness about a bribe. But rewards can be really powerful if the activity creates a new skill or changes preferences.”
The case against using bribes in parenting is perhaps best articulated in Alfie Kohn’s 1999 book “Punished by Rewards.” In many scenarios, the use of rewards can crush internal motivation. With healthy eating, for example, some fear that prizes will prevent children from developing their own motivation to eat things that are good for them. Another danger, known as a boomerang effect, is the possibility that some children would eat less fruits and vegetables when the rewards disappeared.
That’s why Price and Just measured fruit and vegetable consumption before and after the week-long experiments. When the week of prizes ended, students went back to the same level of fruit and vegetable consumption as before — no lasting improvement, but no boomerang effect either.
Now the researchers are studying whether extending the experiments over three to five weeks might yield lasting change. So far things look promising….
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131217104601.htm#.UrPzdFGb0KY.email

Citation:

Journal References:
1.David Just, Joseph Price. Using Incentives to Encourage Healthy Eating in Children. The Journal of Human Resources, December 2013
2.David Just, Joseph Price. Default options, incentives and food choices: evidence from elementary-school children. Public Health Nutrition, 2013; 16 (12): 2281 DOI: 10.1017/S1368980013001468
Brigham Young University (2013, December 17). Study: Pay kids to eat fruits, vegetables. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2013,

Here is the press release from Brigham Young University:

News Release
Study: Pay kids to eat fruits & veggies with school lunch
Small rewards bring less waste, better results than new school lunch rule
The Washington Post
Slate
The Salt Lake Tribune
Fox News
Yahoo News
Huffington Post
The good news: Research suggests that a new federal rule has prompted the nation’s schools to serve an extra $5.4 million worth of fruits and vegetables each day.
The bad news: The nation’s children throw about $3.8 million of that in the garbage each day.
Researchers from Brigham Young University and Cornell observed three schools adjust to new school lunch standards that require a serving of fruits or vegetables on every student’s tray – whether the child intends to eat it or not. As they report in the December issue of Public Health Nutrition, students discarded 70 percent of the extra fruits and vegetables.
“We saw a minor increase in kids eating the items, but there are other ways to achieve the same goal that are much, much cheaper,” said BYU economics professor Joe Price.
Strange as it sounds, directly paying students to eat a fruit or vegetable is less expensive and gets better results.
With Cornell’s David Just, Price conducted a second study to measure the effect of small rewards in the lunchroom. The week-long experiments took on different twists in the 15 different schools – some could earn a nickel, others a quarter, and others a raffle ticket for a larger prize. But the results were generally the same. As the scholars report in The Journal of Human Resources, offering small rewards increased the fruit and vegetable consumption by 80 percent. And the amount of wasted food declined by 33 percent.
Which begs the question: Is benevolent bribery a better way?
“Parents are often misguided about incentives,” Price said. “We feel a sense of dirtiness about a bribe. But rewards can be really powerful if the activity creates a new skill or changes preferences.”
The case against using bribes in parenting is perhaps best articulated in Alfie Kohn’s 1999 book “Punished by Rewards.” In many scenarios, the use of rewards can crush internal motivation. With healthy eating, for example, some fear that prizes will prevent children from developing their own motivation to eat things that are good for them. Another danger, known as a boomerang effect, is the possibility that some children would eat less fruits and vegetables when the rewards disappeared.
That’s why Price and Just measured fruit and vegetable consumption before and after the week-long experiments. When the week of prizes ended, students went back to the same level of fruit and vegetable consumption as before – no lasting improvement, but no boomerang effect either.
Now the researchers are studying whether extending the experiments over three to five weeks might yield lasting change. So far things look promising.
“I don’t think we should give incentives such a bad rap,” Price said. “They should be considered part of a set of tools we can use.”
The first study documenting the impact of the new rule appears in the December 2013 issue of Public Health Nutrition. The second study is titled “Using Incentives to Encourage Healthy Eating in Children” and is available to subscribers of The Journal of Human Resources. An earlier version of the paper is available at Price’s website.
Related Stories
Birth order study: It’s about time
BYU study says exercise may reduce motivation for food
Story Highlights
•A new federal rule requires a serving of fruits or vegetables on every tray
•70 percent is thrown away, wasting an estimated $3.8 million daily
•Offering a small reward doubles fruit and vegetable consumption without the waste
http://news.byu.edu/archive13-dec-veggies.aspx

The challenge is getting kids to eat the food mandated by the rules and for school districts to find “kid tasty” foods which are affordable. A Child’s health is too important to be the subject of tawdry political wrangling and high pressure tactics from big money interests. Our goal as a society should be:

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

Resources:

USDA changes school lunch requirements http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/271813-usda-changes-school-lunch-requirements

USDA backpedals on healthy school-lunch rules http://grist.org/news/usda-backpedals-on-healthy-school-lunch-rules/

National School Lunch Program Fact Sheet
http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/lunch/aboutlunch/NSLPFactSheet.pdf

Related:

School dinner programs: Trying to reduce the number of hungry children https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/school-dinner-programs-trying-to-reduce-the-number-of-hungry-children/

School lunches: The political hot potato https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/03/school-lunches-the-political-hot-potato/

The government that money buys: School lunch cave in by Congress https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/the-government-that-money-buys-school-lunch-cave-in-by-congress/

Do kids get enough time to eat lunch? https://drwilda.com/2012/08/28/do-kids-get-enough-time-to-eat-lunch/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda © https://drwilda.com/

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