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
This research brief summarizes findings from an exploratory study of a diverse sample of juvenile justice residential facilities in North Carolina conducted by RTI International. The study examined food service operations, agency and facility level policies and practices pertaining to nutrition, participation in federal school nutrition programs, and additional food … More
Farm-to-School Education Grants Reach Low-Income Children and Encourage Them to Learn About Fruits and Vegetables
For children from low-income families, school meals are a significant portion of daily caloric intake and hence an opportunity to address food insecurity. Many states have pursued legislation to institutionalize programs such as farm to school that aim to improve the quality of school meals and acceptance of healthy foods … More
Evaluation of the USDA FINI Program Finds Benefits for Consumers, Farmers and Retailers, and Local Economies
In December 2018, Congress passed a new farm bill which included a reauthorization of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grant Program. This brief summarizes the findings of a recent qualitative evaluation of FINI, which concludes that the program has benefits for consumers, farmers and … More