Gundersen, Kreider, and Pepper, using the survey data and auxiliary administrative information, revealed that the NSLP had negative effects on the health of participating children (Gundersen, Kreideramp. Pepper, 2011). Other studies have contrasted with the linkage between participation in NSLP and obesity. For example, using data from school nutritional dietary assessment study, Gleason et al. indicated that there existed no positive relationship between obesity and the participation in the NSLP (Gleason et al., 2009).
Other studies indicate that the health hazards posed by the NSLP are gender specific. Ledford, while investigating the linkage between eating school lunch and obesity in elementary school, revealed that girls were more likely to be overweight or obese after participation in the lunch program (Ledford, 2009). However, other studies indicate that the effect of NSLP of health is the interplay between the program and the amount of emphasis on physical exercises. The finance project, in its report, indicated that the waning emphasis on exercises is what increased the chances of health problems.
Children in schools that offer NSLP are qualified to partake in the program if they meet specified criteria. Nevertheless, those ineligible can be involved in the program by meeting the total cost of the food. A child is eligible for the free meals if the family of such a child has an income below 130% of the poverty level. If the family is between 130% and 185%, the child is eligible for subsidized meals (less than 40% of the cost of the meal). Above the 185%, the child is required to pay the full price for the food (Millimet, Tchernsamp. Husain, 2009. Gundersen, Kreideramp. Pepper, 2011). Consequently, eligibility changes with the changes in poverty and family incomes. For example, according to the 2008 poverty guidelines, an income of less than $27, 000 qualified children free meals, while between the same income and $ 39, 220 earned a child reduced cost meals.