Online Program

State-level factors that are associated with the passage of school nutrition policies: A pilot study

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 9:24 a.m. - 9:42 a.m.

Allyson Baughman, MPP, MPH, McCormack Graduate School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, University of Massachusetts, Boston, Boston, MA
Background Childhood obesity is a particularly salient and pressing issue. Since 1980, obesity prevalence among children and adolescents has nearly tripled (Ogden & Carroll, 2010). Childhood obesity has serious negative outcomes both in childhood and into adult life. Purpose Schools are viewed as an ideal setting for interventions to reduce childhood obesity. This paper focuses on school nutrition policies as potential tools for childhood obesity prevention. Specifically, it has two purposes: 1) to describe common school nutrition policies that were proposed through state legislatures in 2010 and 2011, and 2) to assess state level institutional factors that may be associated with successful passage of such policies. Results Eighty-eight school nutrition policies were proposed in the legislature of 34 states in 2010 and 2011. Overall, most of the proposed legislation dealt with competitive foods in schools (27%) followed by general nutrition (19%), funding (17%), program participation/implementation (16%), local food/farm to school legislation (14%), and other (10%). Significant correlations were seen between passage of proposed legislation and institutional factors at the state level such as the presence of a food policy council, and the legislative chamber in which the bill was proposed. No correlations were seen between state demographic and socio-economic factors and bill passage. Conclusions Overall, the findings of this limited study suggest that legislation that proposes small gradual changes while maintaining the status quo or has been incentivized by the federal government are most commonly passed, and state level factors are associated with bill passage.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe the types of school nutrition policies that were proposed in 2010 and 2011. Analyze the political and other state-level factors that are associated with successful passage of school nutrition policies.

Keyword(s): School Health, Food and Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been working in public health research for five years and I have been studying public policy as a doctoral student for three years. I am specifically focused on public policy that impacts overweight and obesity in the U.S.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.