Research & Publications | Healthy Eating Research

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State Agency Perspectives on Successes and Challenges of Administering the Child and Adult Care Food Program

The federal Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) improves nutrition and reduces food insecurity for young children while helping cover food costs for care providers and families. Despite its important benefits, the program is underutilized. This report uses qualitative interviews with state CACFP administrators representing 28 states to explore federal and state policies and practices that support or discourage CACFP participation among licensed child More

Date: November 2023

Resource Type: Journal Article

Focus Areas: Early Childhood

Supporting the Wake Forest School of Medicine in implementing a WIC referral program within electronic health records to optimize WIC participation

The United States has an ongoing maternal and infant health crisis, characterized by stark disparities. The WIC program could equitably improve health outcomes, but it is underutilized. Identifying strategies for healthcare systems to efficiently connect pregnant patients with WIC is a public health and policy priority. This study will use the electronic health record (EHR) More

Date: November 2023

Resource Type: Grant Summary

Focus Areas: Early Childhood Nutrition Policy & Programs

Assessing participation in and implementation of summer electronic-benefits-transfer and non-congregate-meal programs in rural areas

Summer EBT and non-congregate meals are summer meal options that have known associations with reducing food hardship and barriers to food access. But take-up can vary across states, which creates disparities among marginalized populations. The study aims to analyze the coverage, take-up, and implementation decisions made around Summer EBT and non-congregate meals. The research team More

Date: November 2023

Resource Type: Grant Summary

Focus Areas: Nutrition Policy & Programs School & After School

Assessing racial/ethnic coverage rates at the ZIP-code level for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children

WIC can improve maternal and childhood health and nutrition, yet only 50% of people who qualify for WIC receive benefits, with racial disparities across states. Beyond state and national estimates, less is known about zip code-level racial/ethnic coverage rates or the factors influencing program reach. This study will be the first large-scale assessment of overall More

Date: November 2023

Resource Type: Grant Summary

Focus Areas: Early Childhood Nutrition Policy & Programs

Determining whether length of participation in social safety-net programs is associated with diet quality and weight status for children 2 to 5

Medicaid, SNAP, and WIC provide low-income children access to vital medical and nutrition services for long-term health and well-being. Despite these benefits, few studies have investigated if these safety net programs, or the synergistic combination of all three programs, are associated with diet quality and weight status; and none have focused on examining these longitudinal More

Examining the economic value of free school meals to inform future policy decisions on expansion of free school meals in the U.S.

Growing evidence suggests free school meal policies improve student health outcomes and nutrition equity. A key barrier to passage of these policies is concerns regarding potential costs, thus, a broader value for money evaluation is essential to inform policy decisions. This study aims to compare ‘intervention’ states with free school meal policies (i.e., universal free More

Date: November 2023

Resource Type: Grant Summary

Focus Areas: School & After School

Developing and evaluating a marketing campaign to increase school-meal participation to improve children’s dietary quality and reduce food insecurity

Increasing participation in school meals could reduce food insecurity and improve dietary quality, especially for low-income children, but low-cost, scalable strategies for increasing participation in school meals have not yet been identified or evaluated. This study will design and rigorously evaluate a marketing campaign to encourage participation in school meals. The study has three aims: More

Date: November 2023

Resource Type: Grant Summary

Focus Areas: School & After School

Federal Nutrition Assistance for Young Children: Underutilized and Unequally Accessed

The federal Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) improves nutrition and reduces food insecurity among young children by helping cover the food costs for child care providers and families. This nationwide study evaluated the extent and predictors of the CACFP’s utilization among licensed child care centers to identify opportunities for expanding CACFP nutrition support. More

Date: November 2023

Resource Type: Journal Article

Focus Areas: Early Childhood Nutrition Policy & Programs

Effects of a front-of-package disclosure on accuracy in assessing children’s drink ingredients: two randomised controlled experiments with US caregivers of young children

This study aimed to test the effects of a standardized front-of-package (FOP) disclosure statement (indicating added sugar, non-nutritive sweetener (NNS) and juice content) on accuracy in assessing ingredients and perceived healthfulness of children’s drinks. In two randomized controlled experiments, the same participants (six hundred and forty-eight U.S. caregivers of young children ages 1-5 years) viewed More

Date: November 2023

Resource Type: Journal Article

Focus Areas: Beverages Food Marketing

Research Brief: Family Childcare Home Providers Need More CACFP Funding to Provide Healthy Meals and Snacks to Young Children

Licensed family childcare homes (FCCHs) in CACFP receive different reimbursement rates based on their income and location. Tier-1 rates are higher and apply to FCCH providers with low incomes or if they are in low-income areas. In 2021, due to COVID-19, tiering was temporarily suspended, and all FCCH providers received the higher Tier-1 rates. However, More

Date: October 2023

Resource Type: Research Brief

Focus Areas: Early Childhood