The Child and Adult Care Food Program and Food Insecurity

Colleen M. Heflin, University of Missouri, Columbia
Irma Arteaga, University of Missouri, Columbia
Sara Gable, University of Missouri, Columbia

We evaluate the relationship between the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and household food security using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Birth Cohort. We find that accessing child care through a center that participates in the CACFP is a marker for food insecurity. However, after correcting for selection bias into the CACFP, CACFP participation reduces the risk of household food insecurity for child care centers. Mediational analysis indicated that the CACFP ameliorates household food insecurity because child care centers that participate in the CACFP provide high quality meals and snacks to children, thereby reducing consumption pressures on the household food supply. Given the known cognitive and health consequences associated with food insecurity during the early childhood period and findings from the current study, policy should now focus on improving access to CACFP.

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Presented in Session 149: Child Obesity and Food Insecurity