Healthy school meals and educational outcomes

Michele Belot, Jonathan James

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Citations (SciVal)


This paper provides field evidence on the effects of diet on educational outcomes, exploiting a campaign lead in the UK in 2004, which introduced drastic changes in the meals offered in the schools of one borough – Greenwich – shifting from low-budget processed meals towards healthier options. We evaluate the effect of the campaign on educational outcomes in primary schools using a difference in differences approach; comparing educational outcomes in primary schools (Key Stage 2 outcomes more specifically) before and after the reform, using the neighbouring Local Education Authorities as a control group. We find evidence that educational outcomes did improve significantly in English and Science. We also find that authorised absences – which are most likely linked to illness and health – fell by 14%.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489–504
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Health Economics
Issue number3
Early online date1 Mar 2011
Publication statusPublished - May 2011


  • Child nutrition
  • Child health
  • School meals
  • Education
  • Natural experiment
  • Health and wellbeing


Dive into the research topics of 'Healthy school meals and educational outcomes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this