Research & Publications | Healthy Eating Research

Focus Areas

Resource Types

Age Groups

Race/Ethnicity

Rural Schools: Challenges and Opportunities for School Meal Programs

Children and adolescents living in rural communities are at increased risk of obesity and food insecurity. Schools can play an essential role in addressing diet-related disparities, but multiple factors can impact the cafeteria environment and student participation in school meal programs. School nutrition professionals face unique challenges in meal operations. To develop solutions to these More

Date: November 2021

Resource Type: Research Review

Focus Areas: School & After School

Policy Approaches to Healthier Food Banking

People who rely on the charitable food system both want and deserve nutritious food and beverages that support their health. Yet a 2018 report by MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger and the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity found that, on average, 25 percent of food bank distributions remain unhealthy. CSPI conducted research More

Date: November 2021

Resource Type: Report

Focus Areas: Food Access

Prevalence of Evidence-Based School Meal Practices and Associations with Reported Food Waste across a National Sample of U.S. Elementary Schools

Providing meals at school is an important part of the hunger safety net for children in the United States and worldwide; however, many children do not receive school meals even when they qualify for federally-subsidized free or reduced-priced meals. This study investigates the prevalence of several evidence-based practices that have previously been shown to increase More

Date: August 2021

Resource Type: Journal Article

Focus Areas: Nutrition Policy & Programs School & After School

Validating a Nutrition Ranking System for Food Pantries Using the Healthy Eating Index-2015

The overall goal of this study is to develop a Healthy Charitable Foods Index that can be used by food banks to translate the pounds by category values into a value that corresponds meaningfully to the USDA’s Healthy Eating Index (HEI) scores. The subrecipient will compare a set of foods in the charitable food system More

Strengthening the Impact of USDA’s Child Nutrition Summer Feeding Programs During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic

To address food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic, utilization of the USDA child nutrition summer feeding programs has drastically increased. Given the unprecedented use of the summer feeding programs, this research brief will (1) explain the meal pattern requirements and select operational differences between the summer feeding programs and the federal meal programs typically utilized More

Date: May 2021

Resource Type: Research Brief

Focus Areas: Nutrition Policy & Programs School & After School

Special Issue on School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study-I: Findings Related to Improving Diet Quality, Weight, and Disparities in U.S. Children

School meals are important contributors to the healthy diets of our nation’s children, especially those in food insecure households, according to new papers published in a special issue of the journal Nutrients. The papers address urgent policy challenges related to food security, childhood obesity, sugar consumption, and racial and ethnic disparities when it comes to More

Date: March 2021

Resource Type: Special Journal Issue

Focus Areas: Nutrition Policy & Programs School & After School

Addressing Equity in Rural Schools: Opportunities and Challenges for School Meal Standards Implementation

Few studies examine why rural public schools have weaker policies and practices related to school nutrition environments compared to their urban counterparts. It is important to understand this disparity because federal school meal standards aim for children to access health‐promoting nutrition environments. In this study, we identify challenges and opportunities for the implementation of school More

Date: August 2020

Resource Type: Journal Article

Focus Areas: School & After School

Assessing the Implementation of Kids’ Meals Healthy Default Beverage Policies in the State of California and City of Wilmington, Del.

Healthy default beverage (HDB) policies are one policy approach to limiting kids’ sugary drink consumption and encouraging healthier beverage consumption. These policies specifically require restaurants to offer only healthier drinks (e.g., water, milk, 100% juice) instead of sugary drinks as the default options with kids’ meals, a combination of food and drink items sold as More

Date: August 2020

Resource Type: Research Brief

Focus Areas: Beverages Food Retail

Serving Their Needs: A Qualitative Examination of Nutrition Policy Implementation in the Early Care and Education Setting

Identifying strategies to assist children in establishing healthy habits is essential to reduce the risk of childhood obesity. The Early Care and Education (ECE) setting is ideal for the implementation of obesity prevention practices. However, there are barriers present for implementing nutrition policies in this setting. This report explores the implementation of food and beverage More

Date: July 2020

Resource Type: Journal Article

Focus Areas: Early Childhood

Prioritizing Health in State ESSA Plans and Report Cards to Support the Whole Child

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law on December 10, 2015, reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. ESSA created an opportunity to broaden accountability beyond traditional subjects, such as math, to potentially focus on health and wellness in schools. States could select health and wellness-related indicators, and identify strategies More

Date: April 2020

Resource Type: Research Brief

Focus Areas: Nutrition Policy & Programs School & After School