Start Date: November 2010

ID #: 68245

Principal Investigator: Karen Webb, PhD

Organization: University of California, Berkeley

Funding Round: Round 5

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A 2010 study found that there has been a 46% increase since 2005 in the reliance on emergency food by families in need. Surprisingly little is known about the nutritional quality of the food inventory of food bank or pantry programs on which the majority of emergency food clients rely. Adoption of food bank nutrition policies is emerging as one approach to obtain organizational commitment to change. In this study, investigators will document the changes these policies are able to achieve in terms of improved nutritional quality of foods provided. The study has four phases: Phase 1 includes an online survey of U.S. food banks to examine the prevalence and scope of nutrition policies in their organizations; and Phases 2-4 comprise an in-depth comparison study of six selected California food banks (three with nutrition policies and three without), 30 food pantries affiliated with these food banks, and 450 clients attending these food pantries. Investigators will document and compare the nutritional quality of food inventory at food banks over the past three years, and organizational practices at food banks and food pantries regarding provision of healthy foods.

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