In 2010, the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) initiated a number of major changes in child nutrition programs, including the establishment of the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. Implemented nationwide in SY 2014/15 to increase school meal participation and improve food security among at-risk children, the CEP allowed the provision of universal free meals in high poverty schools. Recent data suggest that more than half of eligible schools chose to participate in the CEP. It is yet unknown whether the CEP implementation has translated into measurable nutrition gains for children and how these gains are distributed across sub-populations. It is also unclear if there are any co-benefits. Evaluations of the CEP’s impact are just beginning to emerge, and no national data on the CEP effects is currently available. The proposed study aims to fill in this gap to provide a timely, nationwide assessment of the multiple impacts that the CEP has brought to low-resource communities. As nutrition is one potential mechanism to explain well-known socio-economic disparities in both health and education, better dietary intake due to the CEP has the potential to improve both health and academic outcomes in vulnerable children.
Studying the Community Eligibility Provision’s Broad Impact–On Child Nutrition, Health, Academics, School Attendance, and Family Food Security
Special Issue on School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study-I: Findings Related to Improving Diet Quality, Weight, and Disparities in U.S. Children
School meals are important contributors to the healthy diets of our nation’s children, especially those in food insecure households, according to new papers published in a special issue of the journal Nutrients. The papers address urgent policy challenges related to food security, childhood obesity, sugar consumption, and racial and ethnic … 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