Kids who use debit cards for school lunch could be less healthy than those who pay with cash

Students with debit cards made unhealthy choices

Could debit cards contribute to poor health for kids in the school cafeteria?

When students pay for their school lunches with debit cards, they're more apt to make unhealthy choices, according to a report from NPR reporter Shankar Vedantam.

FULL REPORT: Cash Or Credit? How Kids Pay For School Lunch Matters For Health

"Kids are much, much, much more likely to take desserts and are much less likely to take fruits and vegetables" when they use their debit cards, Brian Wansink a behavioral economist at Cornell University told NPR. "In contrast to that, in schools where kids are paying cash, kids not only buy a lot more fruit but they also buy a lot less dessert."

Researchers found that kids paying with a debit card consumed 10 percent fewer calories and passed up deserts that were hard to get to.

"When we put cookies behind the lunch line so that kids have to ask cafeteria workers to pass it to them, cookie sales dropped dramatically," Wansink said.

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