Published: October 2015

ID #: 69296

Journal: Child Obes

Authors: Schwartz MB, Henderson KE, Grode G et al.

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The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) supports food service in child-care centers that serve lower-income families and regulated the quality and quantity of food served in participating centers. The aim of this study was to assess the nutritional quality of lunches served in 38 CACFP-participating preschools in Connecticut and examine how current practices compare to the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) recommendations to improve CACFP and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2015 proposed rule. Researchers assessed preschoolers’ food intake through visual estimates of amount of food served and amount left after the meal, and nutrition of meals through visits with food preparation staff and analysis of serving sizes. Results indicate that centers generally comply with CACFP regulations, but do not meet the standards proposed by the IOM for produce consumption, saturated fat, protein, fiber, and sodium. The investigators found that compared with CACFP-recommended portion sizes, servings of meat and grain were high while milk was low. Compared with IOM recommendations, saturated fat, protein, and sodium intake were high and dietary fiber was low. While all centers offered all required lunch components, not every component was always served to each child.

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