Optimal nutrition is critical for children’s short- and long-term health including maintaining a healthy weight and prevention of chronic diseases, as well as physical development, cognitive development, early learning, and academic success. Many communities across America are changing public policy, community environments, and industry practices to better support healthy eating, physical activity, and healthier choices for kids and families so that all children have a healthy start in life and are able to grow up at a healthy weight. Research in this area focuses on monitoring and improving eating patterns and overweight and obesity trends, and understanding how policies, systems, and environments impact food and beverage choices and weight status.

Research & Publications See all

January 2022

Federal Nutrition Programs During the COVID-19 Pandemic: SNAP

The COVID-19 pandemic presented new challenges and exacerbated existing barriers faced by SNAP participants and administrators, such as inequitable access to SNAP online purchasing, overburdened administrative staff and agency systems, and low digital literacy and technology deficits. In response, SNAP online purchasing increased rapidly by March 2021, and program flexibilities and waivers allowed states to More

December 2021

Content Analysis of Online Grocery Retail Policies and Practices Affecting Healthy Food Access

This study aimed to describe policies and practices of online grocery retailers that may affect healthy food access, including retailers participating in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Online Purchasing Pilot. This was a cross-sectional, quantitative content analysis of 21 online grocery retail websites from November 2019 to January 2020. Most retailers More

December 2021

Federal Nutrition Programs During the COVID-19 Pandemic: WIC

In response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act authorized USDA to approve waivers, requested by WIC state agencies and Tribal Nations, which would ensure WIC benefit access for families already participating in the program, as well as newly eligible families. These waivers and flexibilities provided researchers a More

December 2021

USDA Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Vendor Criteria

This brief provides the results of an analysis of WIC vendor selection and authorization criteria, and operations and management policies established by the 89 administrative agencies in the United States. This study is the first to compile and examine a database of WIC vendor selection and authorization criteria, and operations and management policies established by More