New York University Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Navigation Skip to Sub Navigation

NYU Researchers Awarded NIH Grant For Study of School Food Policy and Obesity

March 24, 2011

     The National Institutes of Health has awarded a $1.3 million to support a study by a team of New York University researchers on how school food policy shapes health, fitness, and academic outcomes among school children.

    The project’s principal investigator is Amy Ellen Schwartz, a professor of public policy and economics at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Schwartz  is Director of the NYU Institute of Education and Social Policy, a partnership between Wagner and Steinhardt. In addition to Schwartz, the study, “The Impact of School Food Policy on Childhood Obesity,” includes six other investigators, including NYU professors Brian Elbel, Meryle Weinstein, Sean P. Corcoran, Beth Dixon, Leanna Stiefel, Rogan Kersh.

      Obesity among children is one of the most pressing public health problems in the United States. Currently, there are few policy tools to reduce obesity effectively at the population level. However, schools are a prime place to influence this epidemic. The School Food program, including both the school lunch and breakfast programs, serves more than 30 million children every day, making it arguably one of the most important levers available to policymakers for improving the diet of America’s youth.

      The research project which Schwartz will lead seeks to determine the influence of school‐level food policies, one of the most promising approaches to influence obesity, on Body Mass Index (BMI) and a number of other critical outcomes measures.

       The New York City public schools offer a unique laboratory for studying the effects of school food policies on program participation, obesity, and academic achievement. With its 1.1 million students and more than 1,600 schools, this school system exhibits wide variation in food policies and programs across schools, considerable diversity in neighborhood settings and contexts, and a remarkably diverse student body. Specifically, this project will investigate the role school and district food policies have on (a) BMI, (b) meal program participation, and (c) academic outcomes. Data on district policies, school practices, and neighborhood context will be collected via a city‐wide survey of schools, interviews with district personnel, and several school case studies. The project will provide considerable data on the impact of a wide range of school food policies on childhood obesity, through direct observation of BMI. As other school districts and state and federal policymakers struggle with policy approaches to influence childhood obesity, these results will indicate which policies are successful and worth pursuing.

This Press Release is in the following Topics:
Research, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

Type: Press Release

Press Contact: Robert Polner | (212) 998-2337

NYU Researchers Awarded NIH Grant For Study of School Food Policy and Obesity

Search News

NYU In the News

NYU Received a Record Number of Applications

Capital New York reported NYU received a record 60,322 applications for the class of 2019, an increase of about 15 percent since last year.

NYU Students Help City Crack Down on Hookah Bars

Capital New York reported that NYU students helped New York City crack down on hookah bars that illegally include tobacco in their hookahs:

Rudin Center Study Says Mass Transit Helps Economic Mobility

The Wall Street Journal wrote about a report by Wagner’s Rudin Center that showed that mass transit could be more important than education in determining economic mobility.

Brennan Center Report Says Campaign Spending Has Jumped

Frontline did a piece about a report by the Brennan Center for Justice that said that campaign spending by outside groups has more than doubled in the last five years.

NYU’s Dorms Ranked Among the Best in the Nation ranked NYU’s student residences third in the country in its list of best college dorms.


NYU Footer