This review summarizes growing evidence of disparities in the social and physical environments of U.S. children and adolescents that likely contribute to increased risk for obesity and poor nutrition. The review examines literature on disparities in nutrition and healthy food access in school, child-care, and residential neighborhood environments, food production and marketing practices, and cultural norms and discrimination, according to socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, and urbanization. Studies about school environments examined policies, nutritional quality of meals, access to competitive foods, and food access in surrounding neighborhoods. Most literature about child-care environments focused on the nutritional quality of foods and beverages served to children. A review of neighborhood environments concluded that lower-income, ethnic/racial minority, and rural neighborhoods are most often affected by poor access to supermarkets and healthful food and greater availability of fast-food restaurants and energy-dense foods. The evidence from studies about food marketing shows that ethnic/racial minority children have greater exposure to advertisements for energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods. Literature suggests that cultural norms shape body image perceptions, feeding practices, and food preferences, and discrimination against certain ethnic/racial groups may influence access to healthy, affordable foods and stress-related food behaviors. The authors conclude with a discussion of future research needs.
Barriers to Equity in Nutritional Health for U.S. Children and Adolescents: A Review of the Literature
This research brief summarizes findings from an exploratory study of a diverse sample of juvenile justice residential facilities in North Carolina conducted by RTI International. The study examined food service operations, agency and facility level policies and practices pertaining to nutrition, participation in federal school nutrition programs, and additional food … More
Farm-to-School Education Grants Reach Low-Income Children and Encourage Them to Learn About Fruits and Vegetables
For children from low-income families, school meals are a significant portion of daily caloric intake and hence an opportunity to address food insecurity. Many states have pursued legislation to institutionalize programs such as farm to school that aim to improve the quality of school meals and acceptance of healthy foods … More
Technical Scientific Report. Healthy Beverage Consumption in Early Childhood: Recommendations from Key National Health and Nutrition Organizations
Research shows that what children drink – from birth through age 5 – can have a big impact on their health, as beverages make a significant contribution to dietary intake during this period. However, with so many choices available in the marketplace, it can be confusing for parents and caregivers … More