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Targeting School Feeding Programs at Vulnerable Sub-Groups

This study has been completed.
Makerere University
World Bank
United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)
Information provided by:
International Food Policy Research Institute Identifier:
First received: December 14, 2010
Last updated: NA
Last verified: December 2010
History: No changes posted

School feeding programs provide students meals conditional on school attendance, which can have impacts on school participation, cognition and learning, and nutritional outcomes. Although the literature on impacts of school feeding programs is substantial, high quality studies with evaluation designs that provide causal impact estimates are relatively few. Thus program impacts on educational, cognitive and nutritional outcomes are not well-understood, particularly in a field setting. Nutritional impacts in particular are questionable, which may be a result program design. Most studies provide only small transfers to children and examine average macro-nutrient effects of the transfer on the treated children, thus it is not surprising that detection of nutritional gains has been minimal.

This study is a cluster-randomized evaluation of a school feeding program administered by the World Food Programme in the Northern Ugandan Districts of Lira and Pader. The program provides substantially larger food rations than most programs (representing 1/3 of children's daily caloric needs and 99% of iron intake requirements).

The key research objectives are:

  1. Impact on the treated: Assess the effectiveness of the program at improving nutritional status, education and cognitive and learning outcomes for school-age children, with particular attention to the anemia status of older school-age girls .
  2. Impact on untreated but nutritionally vulnerable sub-groups: Assess the effectiveness of the program at reducing anemia prevalence in mothers and younger siblings.
  3. Optimal program design: Assess the differential impacts of a program in which children are fed at school compared with one in which they are given dry rations to bring home.

Condition Intervention
Malnutrition Cognition Other: In School Feeding Other: Take Home Rations

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Prevention
Official Title: Study of School Feeding Programs' Impact on Anemia Status in Pre-adolescent Girls and Other Vulnerable Household Members in a Cluster-Randomized Trial in Uganda

Further study details as provided by International Food Policy Research Institute:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Mothers' and Children's Nutritional Status [ Time Frame: 15 months ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Cognitive Performance [ Time Frame: 15 months ]
  • School achievement [ Time Frame: 15 months ]
  • School Participation [ Time Frame: 15 months ]

Enrollment: 2083
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: In School Feeding Other: In School Feeding
The intervention provides meals consisting of 1049 kcals of energy, 32.6 gm protein, and 24.9 gm fat per child per school day and meet at least two thirds of the child's daily vitamin and mineral requirements, including 99 percent of iron requirements. SFP delivers these nutrients in the form of a fortified corn-soy porridge around mid-morning and beans and maize meal or rice at lunch.
Experimental: Take Home Rations Other: Take Home Rations
The rations provided in the intervention are equal in size and composition to the food received in the in-school feeding intervention, but are provided to households once per month.
No Intervention: Control


Ages Eligible for Study:   6 Years to 13 Years   (Child)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All

Inclusion Criteria:

  • School age children

Exclusion Criteria:

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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01261182

Lira District
Lira, Uganda
Pader District
Pader, Uganda
Sponsors and Collaborators
International Food Policy Research Institute
Makerere University
World Bank
United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)
Principal Investigator: Marie Ruel, PhD IFPRI
  More Information

Responsible Party: Marie Ruel/Director, IFPRI Identifier: NCT01261182     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: WB-7135830
Study First Received: December 14, 2010
Last Updated: December 14, 2010

Keywords provided by International Food Policy Research Institute:
School feeding
Infant nutrition
Mother's nutrition
Fortified food
Cluster randomized controlled trials
Impact evaluation studies

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Nutrition Disorders processed this record on August 22, 2017