Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Debit cards deduct nutrition from school lunches

Date:
October 7, 2013
Source:
Cornell University
Summary:
School cafeterias that accept only electronic payments may be inadvertently promoting junkier food and adding empty calories to students’ diets.

School cafeterias that accept only electronic payments may be inadvertently promoting junkier food and adding empty calories to students’ diets, say Cornell behavioral economists in the current issue of the journal Obesity.

To expedite long lunch lines and enable cleaner accounting, about 80 percent of schools use debit cards or accounts that parents can add money to for cafeteria lunch transactions, write David Just and Brian Wansink, co-directors of the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs.

“There may be a reason for concern about the popularity of cashless systems,” say the researchers. “Debit cards have been shown to induce more frivolous purchases or greater overall spending.”

Just and Wansink compared purchases at school cafeterias that use debit-only systems with those that accept debit or cash. They found that students in first through 12th grades at debit/cash cafeterias consumed about 721 calories for lunch compared with 752 calories at debit-only schools.

For non-healthy food items alone – such as candy, dessert, cheeseburgers and fries – students at debit-only schools consumed 441 calories during their lunch, compared with 378 calories for students at debit/cash schools.

An ice cream sandwich here and a bag of potato chips there add up: A child can draw down debit accounts quickly, the research points out. Parents pay for several weeks’ worth of lunches in advance, often with little control over individual transactions. Parents often have difficulty gauging how long the money should last, if spent wisely.

“This may lead children to generally greater spending on lunch,” the researchers report.

The results, which are based on a study of more than 2,300 students, have important implications for schools and child obesity. A small number of schools have introduced debit systems that allow parents to regulate daily spending, which can help combat the problem. If the use of cash, as opposed to debit cards, can nudge a student into making slightly healthier choices, then perhaps a “cash-for-cookies” policy, for example, would “encourage students to think twice before making their selection,” said Just and Wansink.
The study, “School Lunch Debit Card Payment Systems Are Associated With Lower Nutrition and Higher Calories,” was supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cornell University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Just, D.R., & Wansink, B. School Lunch Debit Card Payment Systems Are Associated With Lower Nutrition and Higher Calories. Obesity, October 2013

Cite This Page:

Cornell University. "Debit cards deduct nutrition from school lunches." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131007111950.htm>.
Cornell University. (2013, October 7). Debit cards deduct nutrition from school lunches. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131007111950.htm
Cornell University. "Debit cards deduct nutrition from school lunches." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131007111950.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Operators of recreational businesses on western reservoirs worry that ongoing drought concerns will keep boaters and other visitors from flocking to the popular summer attractions. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the industry fell under intense scrutiny. Now, small underground nuclear power plants are being considered as the possible future of the nuclear energy. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Heartbleed Hack Leads To Arrest

Heartbleed Hack Leads To Arrest

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A 19-year-old computer science student has been arrested in relation to a data breach of 900 social insurance numbers from Canada's revenue agency. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins