Nutrition Policy Institute study suggests that child care sites participating in CACFP offer more fruits and vegetables to infants

May 5, 2020

Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI) researchers' new study of 297 licensed California child care providers that care for infants suggests that those participating in the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) offered fruits and vegetables more often and sweetened yogurt less often to infants in their care compared to sites that did not participate in the CACFP. Additionally, more CACFP participants compared to those that did not participate in CACFP were in alignment with the current recommendations to not offer cow's milk to infants prior to their first birthday. However, the study also showed that CACFP participants were less likely to usually provide breastmilk to infants, suggesting the need for additional support and recommendations for CACFP participants on breastfeeding resources for providers and families. The study was conducted in 2016 prior to updates to the CACFP nutrition standards which went into effect in October 2017. Results from the study were published online ahead of print on April 29, 2020 in the Maternal and Child Health Journal. The state-wide child care study was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Healthy Eating Research Program, and was conducted by NPI's Lorrene Ritchie, Danielle Lee, Klara Gurzo (currently with Stockholm University Department of Public Health Sciences), and Lilly Nhan (currently with University of California, Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health) in collaboration with Elyse Homel Vitale of the Child Care Food Program Roundtable (previously with California Food Policy Advocates) and Sallie Yoshida of Social Policy Research Associates (previously with Sarah Samuels Center for Public Health Research & Evaluation).