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
The Charitable Food System as a Change Agent
The U.S. charitable food system can play a role in addressing social determinants of health because of its expansive reach and community connections. The article highlights (a) strategies to prioritize access to nutritious food and provide a dignified experience; (b) examples of how food pantries can be a portal to federal benefits, health care, and other More
Evaluation of U.S. Department of Agriculture Foods Programs for Households Using Nutrition Guidelines for the Charitable Food System
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foods programs for households are designed to provide nutritious foods at no cost to income-eligible individuals in the United States. Our aim was to evaluate the nutritional quality of the foods available from 3 USDA Foods programs for households (ie, The Emergency Food Assistance Program, Food Distribution Program on Indian More
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
COVID-19 relief measures and food insecurity among low-wage worker families
During the COVID-19 pandemic, record numbers of households, including nearly 14 million children, reported not having enough to eat. In response, the federal government enacted a set of far-reaching relief measures, expanding both USDA nutrition assistance programs as well as other economic safety net measures. Within a sample of low-wage workers with children, this research More