Child and Adult Care Food Program: Aligning Dietary Guidance for All Recommendations for Program Evaluation and Research
The IOM committee that reviewed and recommended improvements to the meal requirements for CACFP, as described in Child and Adult Care Food Program: Aligning Dietary Guidance for All (IOM, 2011), encountered a considerable lack of data relevant to CACFP, including food group and nutrient intake and participant characteristics. As described in detail in Chapter 11 of the 2011 report, the committee made the following recommendations: ongoing evaluation of CACFP; targeted research on nutrient intake, participant characteristics, and certain program outcomes; and periodic reassessment to determine the magnitude of impact of recommended changes in meal requirements. These research recommendations parallel the research objectives identified in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (see Box 1-3).
Program Evaluation Recommendation 1: USDA, in collaboration with relevant agencies, should provide support for research to evaluate the impact of the Meal Requirements on participants’ total and program-related dietary intake and consumption patterns, on the food and nutrition content of the meals and snacks served, on demand from eligible providers to participate in CACFP, and on program access by participants.
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.
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 the evaluation of program impact (described in Recommendation 1 above).
Research Recommendation 1: USDA, in collaboration with relevant agencies and foundations, should support research on topics related to the implementation of the Meal Requirements and to fill important gaps in knowledge of the role of CACFP in meeting the nutritional needs of program participants.
Research Recommendation 2: USDA should review and update, as appropriate, the CACFP Meal Requirements to maintain consistency with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and other relevant science.
lack of up-to-date data relevant to CACFP and recommended that USDA support research to fill important gaps in knowledge. The committee also recommended that USDA support research to evaluate the impact of anticipated changes in CACFP meal requirements (see Box 1-1). The IOM held an additional workshop in February 2012 to discuss the evaluation and research recommendations articulated in the 2011 report (see Appendix A