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Nutritional Intervention, Health and Education: A Study Based on the National Nutrition Improvement Program

【Authors】
FAN Ziying, GAO Yueguang & LIU Chang
【WorkUnit】
FAN Ziying, GAO Yueguang (Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, 200433)LIU Chang (Renmin University of China, 100872)
【Abstract】

Nutritional health is an important factor affecting students' access to education, but subject to the family's economic conditions, making external nutrition intervention crucial. Based on the quasi-natural experiment of the Nutrition Improvement Program for Rural Compulsory Education Students implemented in China since 2011, this paper studies how the state-financed nutritious meals improve the academic performance of students and the transmission mechanism. Using CEPS data and DID method, we have several findings. (1) Nutrition intervention has a positive impact on students' academic performance, in which student scores have increased by six percentage points in standard deviation. Since the program is only for rural areas, it effectively promotes educational equity between urban and rural areas. (2) Heterogeneity analysis shows that mathematics and English scores have increased significantly by 14 points and 12.5 points respectively, but Chinese language performance has not changed significantly, and the boys are more sensitive to the impact of intervention. (3) The mechanism test finds that intervention has improved the students' health and laid a nutritional foundation for better academic performance. This paper confirms the necessity of the National Nutrition Improvement Program and also provides policy implications for reform priorities in the next step.

 

JEL: H52, I12, I38

【KeyWords】
Nutrition Improvement Program, Nutrition and Health, Education