- Author: Brianna Aguayo Villalon
- Editor: lauren au
A recent study found that higher infant diet quality scores observed in Hispanic Spanish-speaking participants account for certain racial and ethnic variations in later diet quality, suggesting that enhancing infant nutrition could mitigate early childhood diet disparities. Researchers focused on data from participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC, to analyze nutritional practices based on racial and ethnic differences among young children. The researchers found that infant diet quality among Hispanic Spanish-speaking families accounted for 25% of later diet disparities based on racial and ethnic differences. The study was published in The Journal of Nutrition, including authors Lauren Au, Charles Arnold, and Sarina Lin from the University of California, Davis, Department of Nutrition, Lorrene Ritchie from the Nutrition Policy Institute, and Edward Frongillio from the University of South Carolina, Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior.
- Author: Brianna Aguayo Villalon
- Editor: Danielle Lee
- Editor: Gail Woodward
The article, “Associations between Changes in Food Acquisition Behaviors, Dietary Intake, and Bodyweight during the COVID-19 Pandemic among Low-Income Parents in California” was recently published in the Nutrients journal. Low-income parents in California reported changes in food/meal acquisition behaviors, dietary intake, and body weight from before to during the pandemic through an online survey conducted from April through August 2021. The study found that decreased supermarket or farmer's market shopping was associated with decreased fruit and vegetable intake and increased unhealthy snack consumption. Online food and meal ordering were associated with higher intakes of sweets, salty snacks, fast food, and increases in weight. Increases in cooking healthy home meals were associated with improved nutrition outcomes. This research suggests a need for interventions that support healthy home cooking and address the negative effects of online food/meal shopping to help mitigate health disparities post-pandemic and prepare for future similar emergencies. The study was led by Nutrition Policy Institute researchers, Gail Woodward-Lopez, Erin Esaryk, Suzanne Rauzon, Sridharshi C. Hewawitharana, with Hannah R. Thompson of the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley, and California Department of Public Health co-authors Ingrid Cordon and Lauren Whetstone.
Nutrition Policy Institute collaborated with Impact Justice, ChangeLab Solutions and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to launch a first-in-the-nation ‘Farm to Corrections' Harvest of the Month pilot project bringing California-grown produce to incarcerated populations in California in three prisons. Several California state policies support the project, including AB-822 which provides price incentives for state agencies to purchase California-grown produce and AB-778 which requires that 60% of state agency's produce is purchased from within the state. The project, led by NPI's Wendi Gosliner, Ron Strochlic and Carolyn Chelius, produced a report summarizing the opportunities and challenges in bringing more California-grown produce to the state's prison system, a second report of promising farm-to-corrections practices from across the United States, as well as several trauma-informed nutrition education workshops across the state for formerly incarcerated individuals. The project was featured in several media outlets, including an article by FarmProgress on October 6, 2023, “'Farm to corrections' project feeds prisoners” and the My Ag Life podcast episode on October 6, 2023, 'Farm to Corrections' Project Benefits Incarcerated Individuals, Growers. The podcast recording featuring Carolyn's interview begins at 10:23. The article was also featured in the University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources News & Events on September 28, 2023, “‘Farm to corrections' project provides fresh produce to people in prison, boosts California growers.”
Complementary feeding refers to the introduction of foods other than human milk or formula to a child's diet. In response to a request from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine's Health and Medicine Division convened the Committee on Complementary Feeding Interventions for Infants and Young Children under Age 2 to conduct a consensus study scoping review of peer-reviewed literature and other publicly available information on interventions addressing complementary feeding. The interventions studied took place in the US and other high-income country health care systems; early care and education settings; university cooperative extension programs; the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); home visiting programs; and other settings. The resulting consensus study report, Complementary Feeding Interventions for Infants and Young Children under Age 2: Scoping of Promising Interventions to Implement at the Community or State Level (2023), summarizes evidence and provides information on interventions that could be scaled up or implemented at a community or state level. Lorrene Ritchie of the Nutrition Policy Institute at the University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources, was a committee member and contributed to the development of the report.
Lack of refrigeration is reported as a leading barrier to corner stores stocking fresh fruits and vegetables. In 2018, the California legislature funded the Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to offer a Healthy Refrigeration Grant Program, providing grants to corner stores in food resource-poor neighborhoods to purchase refrigeration units to increase access to California-grown fruits and vegetables. A new report from NPI shows storeowners that participated in the program perceived increases in their store's ability to sell produce after installing the CDFA refrigerator. Storeowners reported the CDFA refrigerator allowed them to waste less produce and increase the variety and freshness of produce they sell. Of the 51 storeowners that participated in the study, only 14% reported “lack of refrigeration” as a barrier to stocking fresh fruits and vegetables after participating in the program, compared to 51% before participating in the program. The findings are also summarized in a two-page policy brief. Report and brief authors include Carolyn Chelius and Wendi Gosliner from the UC Nutrition Policy Institute, as well as former NPI intern Caroline Long and volunteer Taylor Baisey from UC Berkeley. The work was funded by CDFA.