Diet quality and school attendance: cost analysis informing absence-reduction strategies in schools with underserved students

Sharon A Kukla-Acevedo, Sharon Ann Kukla Acevedo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

<b>BACKGROUND:</b> As school districts across the nation evaluate strategies and implement programs to reduce absenteeism, health-related interventions remain largely underutilized. This study uses the potential relationship between student diet quality, as measured by the Healthy Eating Index (HEI), and school attendance to provide a cost analysis of improved diet quality and compare the costs of improving diet quality to the costs and efficacy of other absence-reduction interventions.<br><b>METHODS:</b> Diet quality data from the Growing Right Onto Wellness (GROW) RCT and student absences data from the Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) allowed for incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) calculations to determine the costs of improving children’s HEI. <b>RESULTS:</b> The results suggest that increasing children’s HEI could improve school attendance and that it might be a cost-efficient way of improving attendance among students in underserved areas. Further, improving diet quality compares favorably to other absence-reduction strategies, in terms of cost and effectiveness.<br><b>CONCLUSIONS:</b> Investments in school food programs to improve diet quality may be a cost-effective strategy to reduce student absenteeism, especially for schools with lower HEI. These results may assist decision-makers who allocate scarce resources aimed at improving school attendance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-52
JournalJournal of School Health
Volume93
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Diet quality and school attendance: cost analysis informing absence-reduction strategies in schools with underserved students'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this