As schools are looking ways to boost state exam scores through a variety of initiatives, the school lunch was being overlooked, and it could be the most cost-effective way to do just that.
Researchers discovered that schools who offered healthier school lunches, performed better on state tests.
“When school boards are going out and contracting with these vendors, what they're thinking is that they're going to improve the health of the students, that they'll get them to eat healthier. I don't think they're thinking of it as a tool to actually improve academic performance [but] we found that it is,”
said Michael L. Anderson, an associate professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley.
“Something that is basically cheap, that is going to improve student health, and that has test-score gains seems like it would be very attractive [to] policymakers.”
The study shows that healthier meals could raise student achievement by about 4 percentile points on average.