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.
Comparing Current Practice to Recommendations for the Child and Adult Care Food Program
Informing the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forthcoming Regulations on Dietary Guidelines for Preschoolers
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is in the process of writing new regulations for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) in response to the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Regulations are expected to draw heavily upon recommendations made in the Institute of … More
In the next year, an estimated 1 in 4 children will experience food insecurity (up from 1 in 6, pre-pandemic), disproportionately impacting children in low-income households and racial/ethnic minorities. To mediate loss of school meals during closures and reduce COVID-19 exposure, Congress authorized the USDA to permit local education authorities … More
Food insecurity among households with children under 18 has increased dramatically during the COVID pandemic; from 15% in 2018 to 28% in June 2020. Governments and school districts have rapidly adopted policies to help children facing food insecurity as a result of the pandemic. Two leading policies include the Pandemic-Electronic … More