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psc brown bag iconUsing Incentives to Encourage Healthy Eating in Children

Joseph Price (Department of Economics, Brigham University)

01/24/2011, at noon in room 6050 ISR-Thompson.

We examine the effects of incentives on the fraction of children eating fruits or vegetables as part of their school lunch using a field experiment at 15 elementary schools. The incentives varied both in the type and timing of the reward though most had a value of 25¢. Providing a small incentive increased the fraction of children eating fruits or vegetables at lunch by 27.3 percentage points (an 80% increase). The incentives also reduced the fraction of fruits and vegetables being thrown away by 43%. These results indicate that small incentives can dramatically increase fruit and vegetable consumption during school lunch and increase the cost effectiveness of the money schools are already spending on fruits and vegetables by increasing the fraction of those items that actually get consumed.


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