Start Date: March 2019

ID #: 76292

Principal Investigator: Tatiana Andreyeva, PhD

Organization: University of Connecticut

Funding Round: Round 11

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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.

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