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Consensus Study Report


The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a federally-funded program designed to provide healthy meals and snacks to children and adults while receiving day care at participating family day care homes, traditional child care centers, afterschool facilities, adult care facilities, and emergency shelters. CACFP has the broadest scope of any of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) food program, serving more than 3 million children and 114,000 adults across the nation. To receive reimbursement for the foods served, participating programs must abide by requirements set by the USDA.

Child and Adult Care Food Program assesses the nutritional needs of the CACFP population based on Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) and makes recommendations for revisions to the CACFP meal requirements. The book outlines meal requirements that include food specifications that could be used for specific meals and across a full day, covering all age groups from infants to older adults and meal patterns designed for use in a variety of settings, including in-home care and in large centers. By implementing these meal requirements, consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain rich foods will increase while consumption of solid fats, added sugars, and sodium will decrease. Not only will this address the high prevalence of childhood obesity, it will also help to achieve consistency with the standards and regulations of other USDA nutrition assistance programs, particularly the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs.

Child and Adult Care Food Program makes practical recommendations that would bring CACFP meals and snacks into alignment with current dietary guidance. The book will serve as a vital resource for federal and state public health officials, care providers working in child and adult day care facilities, WIC agencies, officials working with the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs, and other organizations serving at-risk populations.


Suggested Citation

Institute of Medicine. 2011. Child and Adult Care Food Program: Aligning Dietary Guidance for All. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

310 pages |  6 x 9 | 

  • Paperback:  978-0-309-15845-9
  • Ebook:  978-0-309-21509-1
Chapters skim
Front Matter i-xiv
Summary 1-14
1 Introduction 15-24
2 The Child and Adult Care Food Program 25-44
3 Methods for Examining Food and Nutrient Intakes 45-60
4 Nutritional Considerations for Infants and Children 61-76
5 Nutritional Considerations for Adults 77-88
6 Process for Developing Recommendations for Meal Requirements 89-112
7 Recommendations for Meal Requirements 113-136
8 Meal Cost Implications 137-152
9 Implementation 153-168
10 Consistency of Recommendationsfor Meal Requirements and Implementation Strategies with the Committee's Criteria 169-182
11 Evaluation and Research Recommendations 183-190
Appendix A: Acronyms, Abbreviations, and Glossary 191-196
Appendix B: Biographical Sketches of Committee Members 197-204
Appendix C: Workshop Agenda: February 2010 205-206
Appendix D: Critical Issues for Consideration by the Committee to Review Child and Adult Care Food Program Meal Requirements, as Submitted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture 207-212
Appendix E: Current CACFP Meal Patterns 213-222
Appendix F: Selected Food Program Descriptions and Websites 223-228
Appendix G: Data Sources and Analytical Methods 229-234
Appendix H: MyPyramid Food Groups and Subgroups 235-238
Appendix I: Food Cost Approach and Methods 239-250
Appendix J: Nutrient Targets by Meal and Age Group and Comparison of MyPyramid Food Group and Nutrient Targets with Recommended Meal Patterns 251-268
Appendix K: Sample Menus 269-280
Appendix L: Options for Breastfeeding Incentives 281-282
Appendix M: Potential Partnerships to Assist with Technical Training for CACFP 283-284
Index 285-296

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