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 to apply approaches from the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program and the National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option during school closures. Without question, all schools are grappling with logistical and financial challenges. However, urban districts, which serve more low income, English language learner, and/or Black and Latinx students and have lower per pupil funding relative to suburban districts, face unique challenges that could exacerbate health inequities. The goal of this mixed-methods research is to identity financial and operational issues facing urban school food infrastructure during COVID-19 as well as expected challenges and future solutions. This project focuses on the nation’s 12 largest school US districts, represented by the Urban School Food Alliance: Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, DeKalb County, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Orlando, Palm Beach, and Philadelphia. The specific aims are to: 1) calculate additional new costs associated with the switch from regular meal service to summer meals for food and implementation; and 2) understand school district administrator perspectives on the implementation challenges associated with reopening and how these new feeding approaches will impact schools’ financial health and organizational structure.
Urban School Food Infrastructure: Current Issues, Challenges, and Solutions
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
Strong nutrition standards for school meals, consistent with evidence-based recommendations, position children for optimal health and wellbeing. Strong science supports the link between lowering sodium intake and better health. This new issue brief from Healthy Eating Research examines the recent history of sodium standards for school meals. It highlights current sodium intake … More
Drinking water access in California schools: Room for improvement following implementation of school water policies
This study aimed to investigate how access to free drinking water in California public schools changed after implementation of 2010 federal and state school water policies. Repeated cross-sectional surveys were conducted with administrators in a random sample of California public schools, stratified by school type and urban-centric geography, from 2010 … More