Improving access to healthy, affordable foods can help prevent and reduce obesity among children and families. Yet many families do not have access to healthy affordable foods in their neighborhoods and communities. Food access is also an important component of food security, which is having consistent access to enough nutritious food for a healthy active life. In 2018, an estimated 1 in 9 Americans were food insecure, including more than 11 million children.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, this number rose to the highest levels ever documented in the U.S. at 38%, with nearly 1 in 2 households with children impacted. Research in this area focuses on increasing access to healthy affordable foods through grocery stores, corner stores, restaurants, mobile food vendors, farmers’ markets, and other food outlets in low-access areas including lower-income communities in urban and rural areas.
Research & Publications See all
Food Insecurity and the Child Tax Credit
Food insecurity puts people at risk for many poor physical and mental health outcomes. Food insecurity stayed stable during much of the COVID-19 pandemic but rose significantly from 2021-2022 among U.S. households with children. Many federal supports were offered during the COVID-19 pandemic. These included expansions in food assistance programs like SNAP, as well as More
Evaluating the impact of state-level economic-support policies on the nutritional health of kids and families
To address ongoing concerns of child poverty across the United States, states have introduced and modified family economic security policies related to the state minimum wage (MW) and state earned income tax credit (EITC). While poor nutritional health disproportionately impacts children who experience poverty, few studies have examined the potentially beneficial effects of state-level MW More
Understanding the social safety net’s impact on food security to inform policy on how best to support children in low-income families
By providing resources to low-income families with children, the safety net has the potential to reduce food insecurity and improve nutrition. Understanding how much, how, and for whom the safety net impacts food security is a critical input into active policy discussions about the best way to support children in low-income families. The project will More
Identifying and addressing implementation barriers to the Healthy Eating Research Nutrition Guidelines for the Charitable Food System
The successful implementation of nutrition standards in the charitable food system can have a positive impact on the health of vulnerable populations at high risk for nutrition-related health disparities. However, there is considerable variability in the level of implementation of the Healthy Eating Research Guidelines for the Charitable Food System (HER Guidelines) in food banks, More