Analysis

Study Will Analyze Effects of Healthier Food in Child Care Settings

The federal Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) 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. In early 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture proposed several adjustments to the program’s nutrition standards. The recommended changes are intended to better meet children’s nutritional needs without increasing costs for participating care providers.

The Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project is partnering with the Health Impact Project—both collaborations of Pew and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation—on a health impact assessment (HIA) to inform the USDA’s work on a final rule updating CACFP nutrition standards and the subsequent implementation of that rule.

The goals of our HIA are to:

  • Identify and analyze the potential implications of the proposed rule for the short- and long-term health of children, from birth to age 5, who participate in CACFP.
  • Determine what effect, if any, the rule may have on child care providers’ participation in the program.
  • Identify the rule’s potential economic impacts on providers.

HIAs are an effective way to consider possible health effects during policymaking processes and are used to identify opportunities to improve these outcomes and avoid unintended consequences and associated costs. They bring together scientific data, health expertise, and public input to inform decisions on proposed laws, regulations, projects, and plans across a variety of sectors.

The research will be conducted in coordination with Kansas Health Institute, Upstream Public Health, and Catalyze Research and Consulting, and results are expected in 2016. Questions about the study should be directed to Sallyann Bergh at sbergh@pewtrusts.org.