School meal programs (SMP) reach one out of every two children aged 5-19 years globally. Recent events have highlighted the need to improve these programs' sustainability and resilience. SMP have historically focused on the amelioration of food and nutrition insecurity and its impact on learning with relatively little attention on the health of the learner. Thus, significant gaps exist in our understanding of how these programs might improve critical short- and long-term health outcomes and how these outcomes can be measured in individuals and populations.
This session focuses on 1) understanding factors influencing child nutrition ecology including internal (biology, genetics, health status) and external (home, community, physical) environments; 2) integrating that understanding into the assessment of SMPs; and 3) developing a framework to support the translation and implementation of that new knowledge to assess the need for and assessment of the impact of context-specific, equitable SMPs. The content of the session is based on a National Institutes of Health project entitled BOND-KIDS, a collaboration between the NIH, the USDA's Foreign Agriculture Service, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the Academy.
CPE Level: Level 2 (intermediate knowledge/experience)
- 3.3.1 Educates clients and other stakeholders on the need for and availability of food and nutritional services.
- 6.3.2 Utilizes innovative ways to disseminate research findings considering the target audiences.
- 12.3.1 Designs programs, interventions, or initiatives based on assessment and surveillance data and evidence-based literature.
- List areas of impact from nutrition on growth and development, as well as assessments to be implemented during school program evaluation.
- Describe environmental factors that influence effectiveness of school meal programs and the rationale for inclusion during evaluation.
- Explain how translational science can be used to strengthen existing and new school meal programs.
- Christina Economos
- Daniel Raiten
- Connie Weaver