School cashless payments promote sales of unhealthy food, researchers say

Cornell behavioral economists' study show the difference between cash and debit food choices.

Oct. 3—School cafeterias that accept only electronic payments may be inadvertently promoting junkier food and adding empty calories to student diets, which contribute to obesity, say Cornell behavioral economists in the journal Obesity, Sept. 23.

Increasingly, schools use debit cards or accounts for cafeteria lunch transactions, write David Just and Brian Wansink, professors at the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs. To expedite long lunch lines and enable cleaner accounting, about 80 percent of the nation’s elementary and secondary schools have implemented debit systems that parents can add money to at any time.

“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 by adults and college students.”

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Dining hall workers at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., have been asked to remove stickers worn in protest of working conditions at the school’s dining halls, The Stanford Daily reports.

School officials say that the stickers with the statement “Respect and a Fair Workload” go against a union-university agreement that states union members may not wear “insignia [with] any message that is vulgar, profane, or disparaging of Stanford, or that results in conflict or disruption in the workplace.”

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The School Nutrition Foundation has named its five School Nutrition Heroes for 2018.

The honorees were nominated by their peers and then selected by the SNF for helping end hunger for homeless and low-income students and their families.

Those chosen are:

Paula Angelucci, child nutrition director, Colonial School District; New Castle, Del. Anthony Terrell, culinary specialist, Shelby County Schools; Memphis, Tenn. April Laskey, director of school nutrition, Billerica Public Schools; Billerica, Mass. Lynne Shore, food service director, Willamina School District;...
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Sidney Central School District in Sidney, N.Y., has received $58,783 from the state to improve its farm-to-school program, The Daily Star reports.

The grant will be used to aid in appointing a farm-to-school coordinator and assistant who will help source local farm products for 10 districts in the region for NY Thursday, an initiative where cafeterias attempt to serve meals made entirely by local ingredients every Thursday.

The funding is part of a $12 million award spread among 12 districts throughout the state by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

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