Research & Publications | Healthy Eating Research

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Feeding Children and Maintaining Food Service Operations during COVID-19: A Mixed Methods Investigation of Implementation and Financial Challenges

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs are critical for the health and food security of U.S. schoolchildren, but access to these programs was disrupted by COVID-19 pandemic-related school closures in spring 2020. While temporary policy changes to the programs enabled school food authorities (SFAs) to pivot towards distributing More

Date: August 2021

Resource Type: Journal Article

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

Wellness School Assessment Tool Version 3.0: An Updated Quantitative Measure of Written School Wellness Policies

Schools play an important role in promoting student wellness. As directed by the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, the US Department of Agriculture updated the requirements for written school wellness policies in 2016. The WellSAT (Wellness School Assessment Tool) is an online tool that provides a quantitative score for wellness policy comprehensiveness and strength. The WellSAT More

Date: July 2020

Resource Type: Journal Article

Focus Areas: School & After School

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

Digital Food and Beverage Marketing Environments in a National Sample of Middle Schools: Implications for Policy and Practice

One promising approach to influence nutrition behavior is to limit food and beverage marketing to children. Children are a lucrative market and schools may be an effective setting in which to intervene. Studies have shown that marketing in schools is prevalent but little is known about digital marketing to students in the school setting. Researchers More

Date: September 2019

Resource Type: Journal Article

Focus Areas: Food Marketing School & After School

Conducting a Large-Scale Surveillance of Public School Environments to Advance Wellness-Related Practices, With a Focus on Rural Schools

Rural disparities in health behaviors and weight status jeopardize the well-being of millions of Americans. Compared to urban children, rural children have higher rates of obesity and consume more calories, less fruit, and fewer vegetables. A health-promoting school environment can modify risk behaviors, and periodic assessment of school environments provides crucial information about opportunities for More

Date: March 2019

Resource Type: Grant Summary

Focus Areas: School & After School

Updating the Wellness School Assessment Tool, WellSAT, to Version 3.0

The WellSAT, created in 2005, is a leading measure used to assess the quality of written school wellness policies. The aim of the present study is to update the WellSAT to a 3.0 version based on current science and psychometric assessments to reflect the 2016 final federal rule from the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. The More

Date: July 2017

Resource Type: Grant Summary

Focus Areas: Nutrition Policy & Programs School & After School

Investigating How to Align Schools’ Marketing Environments With Federal Standards for Competitive Foods

The goal of this study was to determine how to improve school marketing environments so that they align with new federal competitive food standards. The research team assessed the food marketing environments in three schools in Portland, Maine, using the food and beverage marketing in schools (FMBS) survey, and provided schools with technical assistance to More

Date: March 2017

Resource Type: Journal Article

Focus Areas: Food Marketing School & After School

Testing Drinking Water in California Public Schools for Lead and Other Contaminants in the Context of an Obesity-Prevention Strategy

Drinking water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages is an important obesity prevention strategy. Although schools have taken great strides to improve drinking water access, the water crisis in Flint, Mich., and its aftermath have highlighted the importance of assuring that the water provided in schools is safe to drink. This study will partner with national experts More

Date: November 2016

Resource Type: Grant Summary

Focus Areas: Beverages School & After School