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Article

Shifts in Sources of Food but Stable Nutritional Outcomes among Children in the Early Months of the COVID-19 Pandemic

1
Westat, 1600 Research Boulevard, Rockville, MD 20850, USA
2
Office of Policy Support, Food and Nutrition Service, US Department of Agriculture, 1320 Braddock Place, Alexandria, VA 22314, USA
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Nutrition Policy Institute, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California, Oakland, CA 94607, USA
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Public Health Foundation Enterprises WIC, Irwindale, CA 91706, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: María M. Morales Suárez-Varela and Jitse P. van Dijk
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(23), 12626; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182312626
Received: 22 October 2021 / Revised: 22 November 2021 / Accepted: 25 November 2021 / Published: 30 November 2021
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), State governments, and school districts took unprecedented steps to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on students’ nutrition. To examine the effect of emergency responses on 6-year-old children’s nutritional outcomes, this study analyzed longitudinal data from a national study of children’s feeding practices, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children—Infant and Toddler Feeding Practices Study-2 (WIC ITFPS-2). Findings include no differences in food insecurity prevalence; however, there were shifts in sources of food, with children in the post-COVID-emergency-declaration (post-ED) group consuming more dietary energy from stores and community food programs and less from restaurants and schools than children in the pre-COVID-emergency-declaration (pre-ED) group (p < 0.01 for all comparisons). Examination of within-person mean differences in 2015 Healthy Eating Index scores and nutrient intakes between ages 5 and 6 years revealed few statistically significant differences between the two groups: children in the post-ED group consumed slightly fewer vegetables (p = 0.02) and less sodium (p = 0.01) than their pre-ED peers. Findings suggest emergency efforts to maintain children’s nutrition were largely successful in the early months of the pandemic. Research is needed to understand the mechanisms by which emergency efforts contributed to these findings. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID emergency food response; sources of food; school meals; low-income children’s nutrition; food security; longitudinal study COVID emergency food response; sources of food; school meals; low-income children’s nutrition; food security; longitudinal study
MDPI and ACS Style

Borger, C.; Paolicelli, C.; Ritchie, L.; Whaley, S.E.; DeMatteis, J.; Sun, B.; Zimmerman, T.P.; Reat, A.; Dixit-Joshi, S. Shifts in Sources of Food but Stable Nutritional Outcomes among Children in the Early Months of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 12626. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182312626

AMA Style

Borger C, Paolicelli C, Ritchie L, Whaley SE, DeMatteis J, Sun B, Zimmerman TP, Reat A, Dixit-Joshi S. Shifts in Sources of Food but Stable Nutritional Outcomes among Children in the Early Months of the COVID-19 Pandemic. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(23):12626. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182312626

Chicago/Turabian Style

Borger, Christine, Courtney Paolicelli, Lorrene Ritchie, Shannon E. Whaley, Jill DeMatteis, Brenda Sun, Thea Palmer Zimmerman, Amanda Reat, and Sujata Dixit-Joshi. 2021. "Shifts in Sources of Food but Stable Nutritional Outcomes among Children in the Early Months of the COVID-19 Pandemic" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 23: 12626. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182312626

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