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School Nutrition Research


Our research examines innovative interventions and policies in schools to improve children's selection and consumption of school meals. Our studies have examined chef-based initiatives, behavioral economic interventions, and policy changes including longer school lunch periods. 


Cohen JFW, Scott M, Sutton M, Cueva K, Shonkoff ET, Goldman RE, Margolis DN, Potempa AE, Fink K, Gustus S, Stock M. A mixed methods evaluation of a school wellness initiative: an examination of longer lunch periods and more physical activity opportunities. (Under review)

Cohen JFW, Richardson S, Roberto CA, Rimm EB. Availability of Lower Sodium School Lunches and the Association with Selection and Consumption among Elementary and Middle School Students. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2020 Oct 21;121(1):105-11.


Cohen JFW, Schwartz MB. Documented Success and Future Potential of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2020 Mar 1;120(3):359-62.

Chapman, L.E., Richardson, S., McLeod, L., Rimm, E., Cohen, JFW. Pilot Evaluation of Aggregate Plate Waste as a Measure of Students’ School Lunch Consumption. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2019 Dec;119(12):2093-2098

Cohen JFW, Gorski Findling MT, Rosenfeld L, Smith L, Rimm EB, Hoffman JA. The Impact of 1 Year of Healthier School Food Policies on Students' Diets During and Outside of the School Day. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2018 Dec;118(12):2296-2301.

Cohen JFW, Richardson S, Rimm EB. Selection Does Not Equate Consumption.  JAMA Internal Medicine. 2017 Dec 1;177(12):1875

Chapman LE, Cohen J, Canterberry M, Carton TW.  Factors Associated with School Lunch Consumption: Reverse Recess and School "Brunch". J Acad Nutr Diet. 2017 Sep;117(9):1413-1418

Cohen JF, Jahn JL, Richardson S, Cluggish A. S, Parker E, Catalano P, Rimm EB. Amount of Time to Eat Lunch Is Associated with Children’s Selection and Consumption of School Meal Entrée, Fruits, Vegetables, and Milk. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2016 Jan; 116(1):123-128

Cohen JF, Jahn JL, Richardson S, Cluggish A. S, Parker E, Catalano P, Rimm EB. Amount of Time to Eat Lunch Is Associated with Children’s Selection and Consumption of School Meal Entrée, Fruits, Vegetables, and Milk. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2016 Jan; 116(1):123-128

Cohen JF, Richardson S, Cluggish SA, Parker E, Catalano P, Rimm EB. Effects of choice architecture and chef-enhanced meals on the selection and consumption of healthier school foods: a randomized clinical trial; JAMA Pediatr. 2015 May;169(5):431-7.


Cohen JF, Richardson S, Parker E, Catalano P, Rimm EB. Impact of the new USDA school meal standards on food selection, consumption, and waste. Am J Prev Med. 2014 Apr;46(4):388-94


Cohen JF, Rimm EB, Austin SB, Hyatt RR, Kraak VI, Economos CD. Impact of the CHANGE food service intervention on whole grains served in rural elementary schools. J Sch Health. 2014 Mar;84(3):212-9


Cohen JF, Kraak VI, Choumenkovitch SF, Hyatt RR, Economos CD. The CHANGE study: A healthy-lifestyles intervention to improve rural children’s diet quality. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2014 Jan;114(1):48-53


Cohen JF, Richardson S, Austin SB, Economos CD, Rimm EB. School lunch waste among middle school students: nutrients consumed and costs. Am J Prev Med. 2013 Feb;44(2):114-21


Cohen JF, Smit LA, Parker E, Austin SB, Frazier AL, Economos CD, Rimm EB. The long-term impact of a chef on school lunch consumption: Findings from a 2-year pilot study in Boston middle schools. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2012;112(6):927-33

Fast Food Research


Our research examines factors that influence children's selection and consumption of healthier options in fast food restaurants, including marketing techniques and parent-child interactions.


Cohen JFW, Cooksey Stower K, Rohmann M, LaPierre, Rimm EB, Cash SB, Davison KK, McInnis K, Economos CD. Marketing to Children inside Quick-Service Restaurants: Differences by Community Demographics. (Under review)

Mueller MP, Shonkoff ET, Folta SC, Anzman-Frasca S, Economos CD. Orders of healthier adult menu items following the implementation of a healthier children’s restaurant menu. 2020 Nutrients.50 (11)

Cohen JFW, Rimm EB, Davison KK, Cash SB, McInnis K, Economos CD. The role of parents and children in meal selection and consumption in quick service restaurants. Nutrients. 2020 Mar;12(3):735

Gervis JE, Hennessy E, Shonkoff ET, Bakun P, Cohen JFW, Mueller MP, Roberts SB, Economos CD. Weighed Plate Waste Can Accurately Measure Children's Energy Consumption from Food in Quick-Service Restaurants. The Journal of nutrition. 2020 Feb 1;150(2):404-10.

Cohen JFW, Roberts SB, Anzman-Frasca S, Gamache MM, Lynskey VM, Matthews E,  Mueller MP, Sharma S, Economos CD. A pilot and feasibility study to assess children's consumption in quick-service restaurants using plate waste methodology. BMC Public Health. 2017 Mar 15;17(1):259

Shonkoff ET, Anzman-Frasca S, Lynskey VM, Chan G, Glenn ME, Economos CD.  Child and parent perspectives on healthier side dishes and beverages in restaurant kids’ meals: results from a national survey in the United States. BMC Public Health. 2017 18(1), 56.

Nutrition Policy Research

Image by Louis Velazquez

Our research examines local, state, and federal nutrition policies including the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) and Smart Snacks in Schools.  Findings from our studies have been influential in national policy debates regarding school meal standards, including citations on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's website and at numerous congressional hearings. 


Schwartz MB, Leider J, Cohen JFW, Turner L, Chriqui JF. Association between Nutrition Policies and Student Body Mass Index. Nutrients. 2021 Jan;13(1):13.

Chriqui JF, Leider J, Cohen JFW, Schwartz M, Turner L. Are Nutrition Standards for Beverages in Schools Associated with Healthier Beverage Intakes among Adolescents in the US?. Nutrients. 2021 Jan;13(1):75.

Cohen JFW, Schwartz MB, Leider J, Turner L, Chriqui JF. Meal Quality of Entrées That Can Be Sold as Competitive Foods in Schools and Potential Impact of the Proposed USDA Rollbacks. Nutrients. 2020 Oct;12(10):3003.

Cohen JFW, Richardson S, Rimm EB. Impact of the Updated USDA School Meal Standards, Chef-Enhanced Meals, and the Removal of Flavored Milk on School Meal Selection and Consumption. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2019 Sep;119(9):1511-1515

Jahn JL, Cohen JFW, Gorski MT, Hoffman JA, Rosenfeld L, Chaffee R, Smith L, Rimm EB..  Product Reformulation and Nutrition Improvements after New Competitive Food Standards in Schools; Public Health Nutrition. 2018 Apr;21(5):1011-1018

Cohen JF, Gorski MT, Hoffman JA, Rosenfeld L, Chaffee R, Smith L, Catalano PJ, Rimm EB. Healthier Standards for School Meals and Snacks: Impact on School Food Revenues and Lunch Participation Rates. Am J Prev Med. 2016 Oct;51(4):485-92

Rosenfeld L, Cohen JFW, Gorski MT, Andres Lessing, Smith L, Rimm EB, Hoffman JA. How Do We Actually Put Smarter Snacks in Schools?: NOURISH Conversations with Food Service Directors. Public Health Nutr. 2016 Aug 30:1-9

Gorski MT, Cohen JF, Hoffman JA, Rosenfeld L, Chaffee R, Smith L, Rimm EB. Impact of Nutrition Standards on Competitive Food Quality in Massachusetts Middle and High Schools. Am J Public Health. 2016 Jun;106(6):1101-8.

Hoffman J, Rosenfeld L, Schmidt N, Cohen JF, Gorski M, Chaffee R, Smith L, Rimm EB. Implementation of Competitive Food and Beverage Standards in a Sample of Massachusetts Schools: The NOURISH Study (Nutrition Opportunities to Understand Reforms Involving Student Health). J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015 Aug; 115(8): 1299-1307

Polacsek M, O'Rourke K, O'Brien L, Blum JW, Donahue S. Examining compliance with a statewide law banning junk food and beverage marketing in Maine schools. Public Health Reports. 2012 Mar;127(2):216-23.

Cognition & Academic Performance Research

Image by Element5 Digital
Research & Publications: Publications
School Nutrition
Fast Food
Nutrition Policy
Academic Performace

Our research examines the impact of healthier food consumption on children's cognitive functioning and academic performance. These studies also help to inform our nutrition interventions and policy research in schools.


Cohen JFW, Sagar K, Dahlgren MK, Kurdziel LB, Gruber SA. The Impact of Micronutrient Fortified Foods on Cognitive Functioning among Low-Income Children: A Pilot and Feasibility Study. Nutrients. 2020 Nov;12(11):3351

Shonkoff ET, Fitopoulos T, Folta SC. Employing Technology Industry Methods to Facilitate Transformative Learning Experiences in the Classroom: Insights From a Pilot. Pedagogy in Health Promotion. 2020 0925109.

Cohen JFW, Rifas-Shiman SL, Young J, Oken E. Associations of Prenatal and Child Sugar Intake with Child Cognition; Am J Prev Med.  2018 Jun;54(6):727-735

Cohen JFW, Gorski MT, Gruber SA, Rimm EB. The effect of healthy dietary consumption on executive cognitive functioning in children and adolescents: a systematic review. Br J Nutr. 2016 Sep;116(6):989-1000

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