Child and Adult Care Food Program Nutrition Standards

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Research Methods: Quantitative research, Qualitative research, Literature Review, Focus groups, Stakeholder interviews

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The Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts, conducted an HIA to inform the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s work on creation and implementation of a final rule updating the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) nutrition standards. The program provides funding for meals and snacks served to more than 3 million children a day in a variety of child care and after-school settings.

The HIA identified and analyzed the potential implications of the proposed rule for the short- and long-term health of children, from birth to age 5, who participate in the CACFP; determined what effect the rule may have on child care providers’ participation in the program; and identified the rule’s potential economic impacts on providers.

The report recommended that the new rule improve the nutritional quality of CACFP-funded meals and snacks by increasing children’s intake of whole grains and vegetables and decreasing their consumption of grain-based desserts. In April 2016, as the HIA was underway, the USDA finalized its updated CACFP standards to require that meals and snacks include a greater variety of fruit and vegetables, more whole grains, and less added sugar and saturated fat. The final rule reflects most of the changes that were in the proposal and that were addressed by the HIA.

The research was conducted in coordination with Kansas Health Institute, Upstream Public Health, and Catalyze Research and Consulting.

This Health Impact Assessment Report first appeared in The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health. The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health was originally developed by the Health Impact Project, formerly a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The creation of this resource was supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Charitable Trusts, or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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