Applying Racial Equity to U.S. Federal Nutrition Assistance Programs - Flipbook - Page 45
Child Nutrition Programs (CNPs)
Overview: Policies, Scope, and Impact
Federal Child Nutrition programs (CNPs) are essential to the physical and cognitive development and overall well-being of
children from low-income families. Children who have nutritional deficiencies or live in food-insecure households are less likely
to succeed academically and more likely to develop long-term health problems. Both academic achievement and good health
are key factors that enable children of color to achieve equity.
CNPs include the following programs. See Appendix 6 for a chart with a description of each program and related
information such as eligibility criteria.
National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
School Breakfast Program (SBP)
Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP)
Special Milk Program (SMP)
Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)
Seamless Summer Option (SSO)
Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
Summer EBT Pilot
NOTE: The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is not a program, but a policy option within the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program
(SBP). For more information, see Appendix 6.
NOTE: The After-School Snack Program is part of the National School Lunch Program, and the At-Risk After-School Meals Program is part of the Child and Adult Care Food
Program (CACFP). For more information, see Appendix 6.
Overall, CNPs have done much to improve the nutritional well-being of children across the country. Participation in school
lunch programs has decreased childhood obesity rates by at least 17 percent and poor health among children by 29 percent.179
These programs benefit children of color disproportionately; the majority of students who attend schools where 75 percent or
more of the students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch (often called the FARMS rate) are children of color.180 Data that is
disaggregated by race and ethnicity for each program is not readily available, however, so it is not possible to analyze whether
children from different racial and ethnic groups are benefiting in different ways.
Equity in Federally-Funded Child Nutrition Programs
Child Nutrition programs address racial equity because they generally target areas of concentrated poverty (see glossary),
which are areas with dense populations of people living near, at, or below the federal poverty line. Research shows that the
harms caused by poverty are exacerbated in neighborhoods whose poverty rates exceed certain thresholds—particularly when
poverty rises above 20 percent, and again when it reaches 40 percent.
One in four African Americans, one in six Latino/as, and one in two Indigenous people in counties with a high proportion
of Indigenous residents181 live in areas of concentrated poverty, compared to one in 13 whites.182 At least one in five Native
Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students enrolled in public schools attend schools in high-poverty neighborhoods.183 Focusing on
areas of concentrated poverty is focusing on children of color, simply because the children living and attending school in these
neighborhoods are disproportionately children of color.
One in four African Americans, one in six Latino/as, and one in two Indigenous people in
counties with a high proportion of Indigenous residents
live in areas of concentrated poverty, compared to one in 13 whites.
A BREAD FOR THE WORLD INSTITUTE SPECIAL REPORT