Nutrition Policy Institute researchers will present at the American Public Health Association 2023 Annual Meeting & Expo . The conference brings in over 1,000 sessions, centered on creating a healthier nation by working together to overcome social and ethical challenges. NPI researchers Wendi Gosliner, Lorrene Ritchie, Christina Hecht, Kenneth Hecht and Monica Zuercher co-author two poster sessions. The first is presented by Leah Chapman from Merrimack College titled, “Universal free school meals during the pandemic: A qualitative analysis of parent opinions from California and Maine” on November 13 from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The second is presented by Deborah Olarte from Merrimack College on November 13 from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. titled, “School food authorities' perceptions of the barriers to student participation in universal school meals during the 2021-2022 school year: A mixed-methods study.” The conference will take place in Atlanta, Georgia from November 12-15 with live virtual options for attendees.
New research highlights the need for increased funding in the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program to ensure family childcare home providers can offer nutritious meals and snacks to young children.CACFP serves nutritious meals and snacks to over 4.2 million children in childcare, annually. Family childcare home providers in CACFP receive reimbursements —Tier 1 or Tier 2 rates—based on their income or being in a low-income community. Tiering was paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 and resumed on June 30, 2023. Nutrition Policy Institute researchers, in collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley, CACFP Roundtable, and the California Department of Social Services, conducted interviews with Tier 1 and Tier 2 providers in California to understand the impact of tiering. Interviews revealed that CACFP supports families by ensuring children receive nutritious meals and reducing their financial burdens. Providers from both tiers advocated for eliminating tiered reimbursements and increasing rates to balance rising food costs and ensure fair compensation. Due to lower reimbursements coupled with inflation-driven increases in food, labor, and supply costs, providers are considering offering fewer meals, leaving CACFP or increasing fees for parents. The proposed Child Care Nutrition Enhancement Act offers potential solutions, seeking to eliminate tiered reimbursements, provide a $0.10 reimbursement increase tied to inflation, and enable providers to claim reimbursement for their children's meals when served with other children in their care. NPI researcher Celeste Felix and collaborators will present preliminary study findings at the Annual CACFP Conference on October 19 at 2:45 p.m. This work was supported by Healthy Eating Research, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Nutrition Policy Institute researchers were awarded a $199,786 grant from the California Collaborative for Pandemic Recovery and Readiness Research Program, also known as CPR3. The grant funds a collaborative project with NPI principal investigator Lorrene Ritchie, co-principal investigator Susana Matias from the University of California, Berkeley and the CACFP Roundtable. The project, “Child and Adult Care Food Program: Impacts of COVID-19 Changes to Meal and Snack Reimbursement Rates on Family Childcare Home Providers, Children and Families – Phase 2”, builds on a current project to understand the impact of COVID-19 changes to CACFP reimbursement rates for family child care homes on CACFP participation, food quality, and food security. The one-year project began on July 1, 2023 and includes Kassandra Bacon as project manager, Celeste Felix as data analyst, Reka Vasicsek as research coordinator, Meirong Liao as Administrative Coordinator, Hannah Thompson as statistical consultant, and Ken Hecht as policy advisor. A goal of the CPR3 Program is to generate policy-relevant evidence to improve the health and well-being of California residents in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CPR3 Program is funded by the California Department of Public Health. California Department of Public Health will not be involved in study design, data collection, data analysis and interpretation, manuscript development, or the decision to publish.
Nutrition Policy's Institute's Celeste Felix will present at the 2023 California Resource and Recovery Association Conference about NPI's latest project evaluating how a large, urban school districts' transition to scratch cooking and using reusable serviceware can impact students' dietary intake and environmental sustainability. The conference is hosted by California's largest statewide recycling association and takes place in Burlingame, CA August 13-16, and Celeste will be co-presenting with Ben Schleifer from the Center for Environmental Health and Fremont Unified School District's recycling coordinator, Stephanie Willits on August 15 from 2:45 to 4:15 p.m. Ben, Stephanie, and Celeste will be highlighting the school districts' reusable tray and cutlery pilot project, which is part of a larger study, “Transition to Freshly-Prepared School Meals: Impacts on Meal Appeal, Student Participation, Intake, Food and Packaging Waste & School Finances,” funded by the US Department of Agriculture's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, grant number 2020-68015-30736. This study is conducted by NPI, the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and FUSD in partnership with the Center for Environmental Health and StopWaste.
Nutrition Policy Institute researchers will present their collaborative research findings at the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior International Annual 2023 Conference in Washington, D.C. Wendi Gosliner presents on July 22, 9:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. ET as part of a session on "School Meals for All: Exploring Global Initiatives and Lessons Learned from California and Maine." Lorrene Ritchie presents a poster on July 23, 10:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET titled "Transition to Freshly-Prepared School Meals: Impacts on Meal Appeal, Student Participation, Intake, Food and Packaging Waste & School Finances;" the poster is co-authored by Celeste Felix and Danielle Lee from NPI, Hannah Thompson, Kristine Madsen and Caroline Nguyen from the University of California, Berkeley, and Laura Vollmer from UC Agriculture and Natural Resources. Miranda Westfall presents a poster on July 23, 10:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET titled "Assessments of Practices to Support Nutrition and Physical Activity at CA SNAP-Ed Eligible Schools Reveal Inequities;" the poster is co-authored by Janice Kao, Carolyn Rider, Sridharshi Hewawitharana, Amanda Linares, and Gail Woodward-Lopez from NPI.