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Competitive Food and Beverage Availability in School: Implications for Adolescent Consumption Patterns Open Access

Nationwide, one in five children are obese--over twice the prevalence rate of past decades. Schools have come under fire for their potential role by selling competitive foods (foods not sold as part of the National School Lunch Program) that are low in nutritional quality and high in energy density to students. In this dissertation, I use the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 fifth- and eighth-grade waves of data to estimate the relationship between changes in competitive food and beverage practices and changes in student consumption of fruits and vegetables, milk and juice, and sweetened beverages using first difference models. Results reveal no significant effects of competitive food and beverage practices on children's consumption of these foods and beverages. These findings suggest that policy and future research may need to target more comprehensive strategies to improve dietary behaviors to achieve a reduction in obesity prevalence among children.

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