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Authors

  1. Schwartz, Colin MPP
  2. Wootan, Margo G. DSc

Abstract

This case study provides insights into policy strategy and advocacy best practices that resulted in passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, a public health law that resulted in improvements to school foods and beverages across the country. Congress reauthorizes child nutrition programs such as the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program every 5 years. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 is the legislation that reauthorized the child nutrition programs through September 30, 2015, and continues in effect today. We conducted stakeholder interviews and reviewed the legislative and regulatory history of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 and advocates' files. We formed an external advisory committee which helped to develop the interview questions and list of interviewees and reviewed the content of the case study. This case study focuses on the provisions that address the nutritional quality of school meals, snacks, and beverages and covers the period from 2004 to 2016. Overall, the case study demonstrates a number of key lessons to help inform other nutrition and public health policy initiatives, as well as continued implementation and defense of school nutrition. For instance, how advocates used research to develop and advocate for policy change, compromises that were needed to advance the policies, changes in attitudes about school food policy over time, framing and messaging, the role of state and local policy that contributed to national change, and how challenges were resolved between stakeholders.