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.
Understanding the lost opportunity of the Child and Adult Care Food Program in improving child nutrition and reducing health inequities
The USDA Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides critical nutrition assistance to lower-income women, infants, and young children. During the coronavirus pandemic, unemployment has risen to levels greater than experienced during the Great Recession, and food insecurity has also increased, making WIC’s role more important … More
The Impact of Increasing SNAP Benefits on Stabilizing the Economy, Reducing Poverty and Food Insecurity amid COVID-19 Pandemic
With unemployment currently at a record high as a result of COVID-19, participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is expected to increase significantly. Congress has already passed three COVID-19 aid bills, which include SNAP provisions such as funding for emergency benefits for SNAP households and program administrative flexibilities. … More
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law on December 10, 2015, reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. ESSA created an opportunity to broaden accountability beyond traditional subjects, such as math, to potentially focus on health and wellness in schools. States could select health and … More