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
The USDA Online Purchasing Pilot, which allows SNAP participants to shop and pay for groceries online, rapidly expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic. From March 2020 to March 2021, the number of participating states increased from 5 to 47. This brief assesses whether the Pilot promotes healthy food access (using the … More
Acceptability, Preference, and No-Show Rates for In-Person and Phone-Based Consultations at Nine WIC Centers in New York City Before and During COVID-19
Access to WIC benefits typically requires an in-person visit to a WIC center, however this became a challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic due to recommendations for social distancing to minimize and prevent the spread of the virus. As a result, in-person requirements were removed for all visits, except first time … More
Improving Access to Free School Meals: Addressing Intersections Between Universal Free School Meal Approaches and Educational Funding
Free and reduced price meal application data are used to allocate billions of dollars annually in education funding. However, schools serving universal free meals under the Community Eligibility Provision meal service option or USDA’s COVID-19 waivers do not typically collect school meal applications. The loss of this data has caused … More