Can Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Participation Help Curb Childhood Obesity?

After a study in California it has been found that “Participation in the Child and Adult Care Food Program is Associated with More Nutritious Foods and Beverages in Child Care.”  Did you know that 19.6 million children under the age of 5 participate in early childhood programs in which they “receive a considerable amount of their daily nutrition.” (Ritchie et al., 224).  This study shows the association of Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) participation with more nutritious meals, snacks and beverages served.  CACFP participation is a step in the right direction!

A bit about the study published in the journal Childhood Obesity:

  • Study/Survey took place in  California
  • Focused on children ages 2-5
  • 429 participants in survey, all licensed facilities.  Private, public, CACFP participants and non-CACFP participants
  • The study set out to compare how participation in the CACFP and non-participation affected the children’s nutritious meal consumption
  • The study found that CACFP sites in general served more nutritional types of foods and less sugary and snack-type foods
  • 2 reported “barriers” to providing food in high nutritional value were cost of food and training/education
  • Going forward CACFP participation and outreach very well could be a viable solution to improving the nutritional environments of our young children
  • Full article and study: Participation in the Child and Adult Care Food Program is Associated with More Nutrition Foods and Beverages in Child Care.

Resource:  Ritchie, Lorrene, et al.  Participation in the Child and Adult Care Food Program is Associated with More Nutrition Foods and Beverages in Child CareChildhood Obesity.  June 2012, Volume 8, Number 3.

Interested in More about CACFP?

Share with the community what you think about CACFP participation and how it might help the childhood obesity epidemic or your additional ideas!  By the way, this is a completely anonymous survey.


Samantha Marshall, M.A.

Samantha is, just like you, excited to make a difference in our community and our world. With a Master of Arts degree in English Literature, you might ask how she found herself building and writing for a website focused on child care. From 1995 through 2001, Samantha started her career working for Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) sponsors which introduced her to the importance of non-profits, community and quality child care. Her experience with Sponsors, State Officials, and Family Child Care Providers left a great and lasting impression. Later in her career and her most recent position at SAGE Publications, an academic publisher, was as a product manager for a new online resource! During this time many of Samantha's passions collided. A love for the written word, children and the proliferation of knowledge as well as a fascination with the resources the internet gives us, building a community for child care on is the perfect way to make the difference she wanted to. Needless to say, she is very excited to be an active part of creating and building