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served, (b) participant’s overall food and nutrient intakes as related to current dietary guidance, and (c) the number of providers and participants in the CACFP program.

Program Evaluation Recommendation 2: USDA should take appropriate actions to establish the current baselines prior to implementation of the new Meal Requirements for comparison purposes. Collection of a nationally representative baseline database of foods actually served is crucial. It will also be important to collect information on significant factors that might influence the impact of CACFP, including the number and types of meals served by age and setting, variations in state licensing requirements, and differences in the cost of living. Comparing CACFP child care to non-CACFP child care in the same geographic location could also contribute to fully understanding the impact of CACFP.

Program Evaluation Recommendation 3: To the extent possible, USDA should take steps to ensure that the final rule for the new Meal Requirements is informed by the results of evaluation of program impact (described in Recommendation 1 above). It will be critically important to evaluate the extent to which implementation of the revised Meal Requirements achieves the goal of promoting health and improving participants’ diets by reducing the prevalence of inadequate and excessive intakes of foods, nutrients, and calories, and contributing to an overall diet consistent with established dietary recommendations including the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. To gain a comprehensive understanding of this dynamic, the evaluation should determine the impact of the Meal Requirements on

  • participants’ total and program-related dietary intakes and consumption patterns,

  • the food and nutrient content of the meals and snacks served,

  • demand by child care and other eligible providers for the program, and

  • access to the program by eligible participants.

Key Evaluation Components

Evaluate Impact of Meal Requirements

Evaluating the impact of the Meal Requirements on participant’s total and program-related dietary intakes and consumption patterns requires consideration of the following components:

  1. Consistency with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans:

    • What changes have occurred in the consumption by CACFP participants, through CACFP meals and snacks and overall,

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