State Legislation Related to School Nutrition: Predictors of Bill Passage From 2010-2019

J Nutr Educ Behav. 2024 Jun;56(6):370-379. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2024.03.002. Epub 2024 Apr 19.


Objective: This study aimed to discover the prevalence of school nutrition state legislation and to identify the correlates of enactment.

Design, setting, and participants: An online legislative database, Legiscan, was used to collect bills related to school nutrition from the US from 2010 to 2019. Bills were coded and compiled into a study database with state-level dietary variables (obesity prevalence, fruit, and vegetable intake, sugar-sweetened beverage consumption), community variables (percent White, poverty), and bill-characteristic variables (party affiliation in legislature, strength of language, party of governor, school gardens, vegetable intake, and other salient variables). Multivariable models were built to examine predictors of bill enactment.

Results: Of the 462 bills introduced, 38.7% (n = 156) were enacted. In a multivariable model, the strength of bill language, political party affiliation, implementation of school gardens, and vegetable intake were the variables associated with bill passage. Bills with strong language were less likely to be enacted (P <0.001). Bills introduced by Democrats were more likely to be enacted (P = 0.01).

Conclusion and implication: This study showed a better understanding of legislative support for child nutrition via policy surveillance of bills and their correlates of enactment. This information can be used to prioritize advocacy efforts and identify ways research can better inform policy.

Keywords: child nutrition; policy; school nutrition.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Food Services / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Food Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Policy* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • School Health Services / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Schools*
  • United States