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

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

July 2022

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

July 2022

Longitudinal Study of Low-Income Families with Young Children: Assessing California Communities’ Experiences with Safety Net Supports Survey (ACCESS)

This is a unique opportunity to assess the longitudinal impact of COVID-19 related relief and recovery policies and existing safety net supports among economically disadvantaged California families raising young children. The goals of this study are to 1) characterize participant’s awareness and understanding of COVID-19 related relief supports such as Pandemic EBT, free school meals, More

July 2022

Is the Housing Crisis Preventing Families with Children from Receiving Food Assistance?

Housing and food insecurity are tightly linked. As housing advocates prepare for and respond to the surge of evictions in 2022, it is important to understand how usage of SNAP, WIC, and other programs is affected by families experiencing evictions. The study aims to answer the following questions: What effect do evictions have on receipt More