School meals provide significant access to food and nutrition for children and adolescents, particularly through universal free meal mechanisms. Alongside added nutritional meal requirements under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (2010), schools can utilize meal program and policy mechanisms such as the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) and Breakfast after the Bell (BATB) to increase participation. This study examines longitudinal statewide school-level CEP and BATB adoption and estimates the impact on increased free and reduced-price (FRP) breakfast participation. We find that FRP breakfast participation increased for schools that utilize both CEP and BATB (14-percentage-point increase) and that CEP-participating schools are more likely to use BATB approaches such as breakfast in the classroom, grab-and-go carts, and second-chance breakfast. Additionally, using a conditional Difference-in-Differences (DiD) approach, we find that BATB adoption accounted for a 1.4-percentage-point increase in FRP school breakfasts served (p < 0.05). Study findings can inform policy and school official decision making around the policy and program mechanisms at their disposal to increase school meal participation and student nutrition.
Ferris, D., Jabbari, J., Chun, Y., & Sándoval, J. S. O. (2022). Increased School Breakfast participation from policy and program innovation: The community eligibility provision and breakfast after the Bell. Nutrients, 14(3), 511. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14030511