Start Date: February 2020

ID #: 86826

Principal Investigator: Tatiana Andreyeva, PhD

Organization: University of Connecticut

Funding Round: HER Round 12

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The USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) plays a large role in supporting nutrition in child care settings, specifically targeting these benefits to low-income populations. Foods provided to children participating in CACFP programs must meet specific nutrition standards in order to be reimbursed with federal funds. This study seeks to understand how the recently updated CACFP meal patterns match the practical abilities of participating programs to implement them. The study also aims to understand how children’s dietary intakes have changed as a result of the updates. While improving the CACFP meal patterns is of great importance, the reality is that CACFP does not reach all the children who could benefit from the program. Thus, a second aim of this study is to enhance knowledge about access to CACFP in order to improve access to CACFP-funded meals and reduce inequities in food access and health. The study will employ a mixed methods approach that will include both a natural experiment to assess the impact of the updated meal patterns on children’s dietary intakes as well as a national sample that will be used to evaluate inequities in access to CACFP-participating child care centers.

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