Friday, November 7, 2014: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
Galisteo (Convention Center)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Panel Organizers: Peter Hinrichs, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
Panel Chairs: Ted Joyce, Baruch College - CUNY
Discussants: Chloe Gibbs, University of Virginia and Anjali Adukia, University of Chicago
How to maintain a healthy population while also keeping health care costs down is a complex public policy challenge that defies easy solutions. Health care costs make up roughly 18% of GDP in the United States (http://kff.org/health-costs/report/health-care-costs-a-primer/). Meanwhile, many Americans suffer from health limitations that are likely tied to their behavior. According to the CDC, 35.9% of Americans aged 20 and over are obese and 69.2% are overweight (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/overwt.htm). Moreover, 18.1% of adults smoke cigarettes, despite the fact that smoking has been linked to a variety of health impairments (http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_facts/).
It is possible that promoting healthy behaviors amongst youths may lead to a lifetime of healthy behavior as adults. Thus, schools may be an ideal venue to reach children and improve their health. This panel would feature four papers that study school-based policies that have the potential to improve health. The first two papers on the panel report the results of studies that analyze the effects of innovative school-based health policies in New York City. The paper by Douglas Almond and Amy Ellen Schwartz reports the results of a “fitness report card” policy on subsequent health, while the paper by Tamara Lalovic Cox and Randall Reback studies the effects of school-based health centers. Next, the paper by Rachana Bhatt and Peter Hinrichs studies the effects of statewide school smoking bans on smoking behavior. And finally, the paper by Jason Fletcher and David Frisvold estimates the effects of the School Breakfast Program on food insecurity. Although these papers study a diverse set of policies, they are all related in that they focus on school-based policies that have the potential to improve the health of the population.