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

September 2022

Implementing SNAP During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Perspectives from the National Network of State SNAP Administrators

SNAP was a critical component of the COVID-19 pandemic response. The beginning of the pandemic saw the largest increase in applications in the program’s history, and the pandemic fundamentally altered how SNAP agencies deliver benefits, interact with participants, and provide supportive services. The goal of this research was to examine SNAP implementation during the first More

September 2022

State Implementation of SNAP Waivers and Flexibilities During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Perspectives From State Agency Leaders

This study aimed to describe state agencies’ implementation of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, barriers and facilitators to SNAP implementation, and recommendations to improve SNAP implementation. This study was qualitative, using 7 semistructured, virtual focus groups in April 2021 with state-level SNAP administrators and supportive services More

September 2022

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

In 2020, charitable food organizations began adopting Healthy Eating Research (HER) nutrition guidelines, which rank individual foods in tiers (e.g., green, yellow, or red) based on each food’s nutrient profile. This study aimed to validate this HER tier-ranked system against the Healthy Eating Index-2015 (HEI) and develop a formula to summarize the percentages of tier-ranked More

September 2022

Simplification of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Recertification Processes and Association With Uninterrupted Access to Benefits Among Participants With Young Children

In the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), families may temporarily lose benefits for which they are still eligible because of administrative issues. This lapse in benefits, referred to as churning, increases the risk of food insecurity for families, which is linked with poorer health. This study examined the rate of churning among SNAP participants with More