Skip to main content Accesibility Help
×
×
Home

Default options, incentives and food choices: evidence from elementary-school children

  • David Just (a1) and Joseph Price (a2)
Abstract
Objective

To examine whether requiring children to place fruits and vegetables on their lunch trays increases consumption of these items.

Design

Observational study that exploited naturally occurring variation between two school districts and a pre–post observational study at schools that changed their lunch policy mid-year.

Setting

Fifteen elementary schools from two school districts, one requiring students to place a fruit or vegetable on their tray and one that does not. In addition, three schools that implemented a default option part way through the school year.

Subjects

Students at eighteen elementary schools (41 374 child-day observations) across the two experiments.

Results

Requiring that fruits and vegetables be placed on each child's tray increased the fraction of children who ate a serving of fruits or vegetables by 8 percentage points (P < 0·01) but led to an extra 0·7 servings being thrown away per lunch served (P < 0·01). The default option approach cost $US 1·72 to get one additional child to eat one serving of fruits and vegetables for 1 d. However, when default options were combined with a small rewards programme the efficacy of both interventions increased.

Conclusions

A default option, as a stand-alone programme, had only a limited impact on fruit and vegetable consumption but was much less cost-effective than other approaches. Schools requiring children to take fruits and vegetables with their lunch might consider adopting additional interventions to ensure that the additional items served do not end up being thrown away.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Default options, incentives and food choices: evidence from elementary-school children
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Default options, incentives and food choices: evidence from elementary-school children
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Default options, incentives and food choices: evidence from elementary-school children
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Email joseph_price@byu.edu
References
Hide All
1.Johnson, EJ & Goldstein, DG (2003) Do defaults save lives? Science 302, 13381339.
2.Choi, JJ, Laibson, D, Madrian, BCet al. (2003) Optimal defaults. Am Econ Rev 93, 180185.
3.Kahneman, D, Knetsch, JL & Thaler, R (1991) Anomalies: the endowment effect, loss aversion and the status quo bias. J Econ Perspect 5, 193206.
4.Samuelson, W & Zeckhauser, R (1988) Status quo bias in decision-making. J Risk Uncertain 1, 759.
5.Johnson, EJ, Bellman, S & Lohse, GL (2002) Defaults, framing and privacy: why opting in–opting out. Mark Lett 13, 515.
6.Dillon, MS & Lane, HW (1989) Evaluation of the offer vs. serve option within self-serve, choice menu lunch program at the elementary school level. J Am Diet Assoc 89, 17801785.
7.Rasmussen, M, Krolner, R, Klepp, KIet al. (2006) Determinants of fruit and vegetable consumption among children and adolescents: a review of the literature. Part I: quantitative studies. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 3, 22.
8.Perry, CL, Mullis, RM & Maile, MC (1985) Modifying eating behavior of young children. J Sch Health 55, 399402.
9.Wansink, B, Just, DR, Payne, CRet al. (2012) Attractive names sustain increased vegetable intake in schools. Prev Med 55, 330332.
10.Just, DR, Wansink, B, Mancino, Let al. (2008) Behavioral Economic Concepts to Encourage Healthy Eating in School Cafeterias. Economic Research Report no. ERR-68. Washington, DC: US Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
11.Cullen, KW, Baranowski, T, Owens, Eet al. (2003) Availability, accessibility, and preferences for fruit, 100 % fruit juice, and vegetables influence children's dietary behavior. Health Educ Behav 30, 615626.
12.Adams, M, Pelletier, R, Zive, Met al. (2005) Salad bars and fruit and vegetable consumption in elementary schools: a plate waste study. J Am Diet Assoc 105, 17891792.
13.Robinson-O'Brien, R, Story, M & Heim, S (2009) Impact of garden based youth intervention programs: a review. J Am Diet Assoc 109, 273280.
14.Lowe, C, Horne, P, Tapper, Ket al. (2004) Effects of a peer modelling and rewards-based intervention to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in children. Eur J Clin Nutr 58, 510522.
15.Stables, GJ, Subar, AF, Patterson, BHet al. (2002) Changes in vegetable and fruit consumption and awareness among US adults: results of the 1991 and 1997 5 A Day for Better Health Program surveys. J Am Diet Assoc 102, 809817.
16.French, SA, Jeffery, RW, Story, Met al. (2001) Pricing and promotion effects on low-fat vending snack purchases: the CHIPS Study. Am J Public Health 91, 112117.
17.US Environmental Protection Agency (2009) Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures for 2008. http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/nonhaz/municipal/pubs/msw2008rpt.pdf (accessed November 2009).
18.Kantor, L (1998) A Dietary Assessment of the US Food Supply: Comparing Per Capita Food Consumption with Food Guide Pyramid Serving Recommendations. Report no. 772. Washington, DC: Food and Rural Economics Division, Economic Research Service, US Department of Agriculture.
19.Getlinger, MJ, Laughlin, C, Bell, Eet al. (1996) Food waste is reduced when elementary-school children have recess before lunch. J Am Diet Assoc 96, 906908.
20.Swanson, M (2008) Digital photography as a tool to measure school cafeteria consumption. J Sch Health 78, 432437.
21.Just, D & Price, J (2013) Using incentives to encourage healthy eating in children. J Human Resour (In the Press).
22.Perry, CL, Bishop, DB, Taylor, Get al. (1998) Changing fruit and vegetable consumption among children: the 5-a-Day Power Plus program in St. Paul, Minnesota. Am J Public Health 88, 603609.
23.Kubik, MY, Lytle, LA, Hanna, PJet al. (2003) The association of the school food environment with dietary behaviors of young adolescents. Am J Public Health 93, 11681173.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed