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

October 2021

Promising and Low-Cost Strategies to Improve School Meal Consumption

The aim of this research brief is to highlight and summarize the evidence of promising, low-maintenance, and low-cost strategies that can be implemented by school districts to increase the consumption of healthy school meals. All of these strategies have been associated with meaningful improvements in meal consumption and require minimal funding and technical support, making More

October 2021

Evidence-Based Recommendations and Best Practices for Promoting Healthy Eating Behaviors in Children 2 to 8 Years

Dietary recommendations are available about what to feed children ages 2 to 8 for optimal health, but relatively little guidance exists about how to feed those children. Because of the discrepancy between young children’s recommended and actual dietary intakes, there is a clear need for such guidance. To address this gap, Healthy Eating Research convened More

October 2021

Assessing the Public Health Impacts of the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative

The Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI) is a voluntary industry initiative in which companies commit to featuring only foods meeting specific nutrition criteria in advertising directed primarily to children under age 12. New criteria that were announced in 2018 and went into effect in 2020 strengthened the nutrition standards and changed the criteria More

October 2021

Strategies to Improve School Meal Consumption: A Systematic Review

This systematic review evaluates studies examining initiatives, interventions, and policies to increase school meal consumption. Following PRISMA guidelines, this review was conducted using four databases and resulted in a total of 96 studies. The research evidence supports the following strategies to increase school meal consumption: (1) offering students more menu choices; (2) adapting recipes to More