First Focus on Children and The Education Trust cohosted a background briefing on child nutrition policy on July 26, 2022, titled, “A 101 Briefing on Child Nutrition Policy.” Commonly children of color and from low-income backgrounds suffer from high rates of food and nutrition insecurity. Furthermore, dietary diseases continue to rise among children.

We heard from Colin Schwartz, Deputy Director of Federal Affairs at the Center for the Science in Public Interest (CSPI), Kristy Anderson, Senior Government Relations Advisor at American Heart Association (ASA), and Stacey Dean, Deputy Undersecretary at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The discussion was centered on nutrition standards, school meals, and how to engage effectively. They went through the history of child nutrition policy and how these policies could prevent 2 million cases of child obesity and save up to $800 million in healthcare costs. Stable high-quality nutrition should be available to all children throughout childhood despite race, income, and geography.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools have suffered from supply chain disruptions, so the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is granting meal pattern waivers through the Keep Kids Healthy Act. Called the “Year of Child Nutrition” by Kristy Anderson, there are many opportunities for Congress, the Administration, and the USDA to make improvements to child nutrition.

By Isabella Diez, Policy Intern