Research & Publications | Healthy Eating Research

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Policy, system, and environmental interventions addressing obesity and diet-related outcomes in early childhood education settings: A systematic review

Early childhood education (ECE) settings play an important role in child dietary intake and excess weight gain. Policy, systems, and environment (PSE) approaches have potential to reduce disparities in children at higher risk for obesity. The purpose of this review was to (1) characterize the inclusion of populations at higher risk for obesity in ECE More

Date: January 2023

Resource Type: Journal Article

Focus Areas: Early Childhood

Promising Strategies to Increase Student Participation in School Meals

School meal programs play a critical role in feeding children. Meals served in school are generally of better nutritional quality than those that students bring from home and have been linked to improved academic performance and household food security. The aim of this research brief is to highlight and summarize rigorous evidence from a new More

Date: November 2022

Resource Type: Research Brief

Focus Areas: School & After School

Costs, Reach, and Benefits of COVID-19 Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer and Grab-and-Go School Meals for Ensuring Youths’ Access to Food During School Closures

School meals are associated with improved nutrition and health for millions of US children, but school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted children’s access to school meals. Two policy approaches, the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program, which provided the cash value of missed meals directly to families on debit-like cards to use for More

Date: August 2022

Resource Type: Journal Article

Focus Areas: School & After School

Pandemic-EBT and Grab-and-Go School Meals: Costs, reach, and benefits of two approaches to feeding children during school closures — Lessons from COVID-19 responses

COVID-related school closures across the United States in spring 2020 disrupted the school meal programs that provide critical access to healthy food for millions of children — including children in elementary and middle school and adolescents in high school — from households with low incomes, leading to increased food insecurity. The United States Department of More

Date: August 2022

Resource Type: Research Brief

Focus Areas: School & After School

Reducing Student Exposure to Digital Food and Beverage Marketing

Digital marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to children and adolescents is pervasive and undermines healthy eating. During the COVID-19 pandemic, students’ time spent online for both recreation and school using educational technology doubled from 3.8 to 7.7 hours per day for 12- to13-year-olds, and racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities widened with children of color More

Keywords: Digital marketing

Date: July 2022

Resource Type: Report

Focus Areas: Food Marketing School & After School

Child and Adult Care Food Program: Impacts of COVID-19 Differences in Reimbursement Rates on Family Childcare Home Providers, Children, and Families

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), the largest U.S. nutrition program for childcare, provides tiered reimbursements to family childcare homes (FCCHs) to serve healthy foods to a large proportion of children from households with low incomes. Due to COVID-19, all FCCHs on CACFP temporarily received the higher Tier I reimbursement rate. The aims More

Date: July 2022

Resource Type: Grant Summary

Focus Areas: Early Childhood

Longitudinal Study of Low-Income Families with Young Children: Assessing California Communities’ Experiences with Safety Net Supports Survey (ACCESS)

This is a unique opportunity to assess the longitudinal impact of COVID-19 related relief and recovery policies and existing safety net supports among economically disadvantaged California families raising young children. The goals of this study are to 1) characterize participant’s awareness and understanding of COVID-19 related relief supports such as Pandemic EBT, free school meals, More

Date: July 2022

Resource Type: Grant Summary

Focus Areas: Food Access Nutrition Policy & Programs School & After School

Evaluation of Universal Free School Meals

The purpose of this study is to compare the impact of continuing Universal Free School Meals (UFSM) in Maine and California with the impact of de-implementing UFSM in control states during the 2022-23 school year. Specific aims are to examine: (1) school meal participation rates using administrative claims data from 20 states; and (2) household More

Date: July 2022

Resource Type: Grant Summary

Focus Areas: School & After School

Child-Directed Marketing, Health Claims, and Nutrients in Popular Beverages

Fruit drinks are a major source of added sugar in children’s diets. This study describes the associations between front-of-package child-directed marketing (i.e., sports, fantasy, or child-directed imagery; child-directed text) and (1) health-related claims and (2) nutrient content of fruit drinks, 100% juices, and flavored waters. Beverage purchase data from a national sample of 1,048 households More

Date: April 2022

Resource Type: Journal Article

Focus Areas: Beverages Early Childhood Food Marketing

Marketing of sugar-sweetened children’s drinks and parents’ misperceptions about benefits for young children

Despite expert recommendations, U.S. parents often serve sugar-sweetened children’s drinks, including sweetened fruit-flavored drinks and toddler milks, to young children. This qualitative research explored parents’ understanding of common marketing tactics used to promote these drinks and whether they mislead parents to believe the drinks are healthy and/or necessary for children. We conducted nine focus groups More

Date: February 2022

Resource Type: Journal Article

Focus Areas: Beverages Early Childhood