Healthy Eating Research Newsletter
Fall 2020
Program Updates │ HER-Supported Research │ Funding Opportunities │ Upcoming Events
Healthy Eating Research is proud to announce the funding of 10 research teams with projects focused on COVID-19 and the federal nutrition programs, to inform decision-making regarding innovative policies and/or programs during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to working with these teams over the next several months and sharing the results of their projects in Spring/Summer 2021. Learn more here. 

Increasing Equity in Community-Based Nutrition Research
HER recently hosted a webinar focused on increasing equity impact in the design, implementation, and communication of nutrition research. This is the first in a series of webinars focused on providing researchers with the tools and information necessary to successfully embed equity into the evidence base. The webinar slides, recording, and list of resources cited are now available to view and share here.
WIC and COVID-19 

During the coronavirus pandemic, unemployment and food insecurity have increased, making WIC's role more important than ever. This brief summarizes the evidence on benefits and challenges the WIC program and participants are facing due to COVID-19, as well as actions needed to strengthen WIC's impact. Learn more here.
Early Care and Education 

This report explores the implementation of food and beverage best practices in the ECE setting in Georgia, and highlights barriers to and facilitators for adopting these policies.  Findings will inform the development of resources to support nutrition policy implementation as well as policy training for ECE teachers in Georgia. Learn more here.


Healthy default beverage policies require restaurants to offer only healthier drinks as the default option with kids' meals. This brief highlights findings from a policy evaluation, including restaurant manager perceptions, as well as future research needs and new questions that have emerged in the era of COVID-19. Learn more here.

This study uses data from a sugar-sweetened beverage and 100% fruit juice screener used for children ages 1 to 17, to demonstrate how health system data could be used to characterize geographic variation in beverage consumption. This approach could help target public health efforts and monitor the effects of community-level interventions. Learn more here.


This new issue brief highlights current sodium intake among America's children and results from the School Nutrition Meal Cost Study regarding the sodium content of school meals. Findings indicate that there has been major progress in reducing the sodium content of school meals, but more progress is needed and attempts to weaken sodium standards compromise the health of children across the country. Learn more here.

Few studies examine why rural public schools have weaker policies and practices related to school nutrition environments compared to their urban counterparts. This paper identifies challenges and opportunities for the implementation of school meal standards in rural high schools. Learn more here.

The WellSAT (Wellness School Assessment Tool) is an online tool that provides a quantitative score for wellness policy comprehensiveness and strength. This article describes the process of updating to WellSAT 3.0 and recommendations and guidance for its use. Learn more here.

This study aimed to investigate how access to free drinking water in California public schools changed after implementation of 2010 federal and state school water policies. Findings suggest that policies mandating free water access in schools may help to improve excellence in access, and more work is needed to help all schools excel in this area. Learn more here.

This study aimed to identify factors associated with an excellent drinking water culture in schools. Six themes emerged as prominent facilitators to a school's success in providing excellent water access to students: active and engaged champions, school culture and policy, coordination between groups, community influences, available resources and environmentalism. Learn more
Boundless evidence exists examining the multiple ways in which racism can adversely affect health; what we need to do is uncover what local, state and federal policies could dismantle racism. Through a new call for proposals, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, under its Policies for Action program, will fund research that addresses systemic racism in public policy. Learn more and apply here. 
Workshop Series: Addressing Health Equity through Data Disaggregation
The National Network of Health Surveys, part of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, is offering a series of workshops designed to improve the disaggregation of race and ethnicity measures in health data sources. Our goal is to boost the number of subpopulation categories made available to key constituencies working to improve health equity. Learn more.

HER Health Equity Webinar Series
Save the Date! On December 16 from 12:00-1:00 p.m. ET, HER will host a webinar featuring Dr. Amelie Ramirez, Director of Salud America. Dr. Ramirez will be discussing her recent research review on Achieving a Cohesive Culture for Health Equity in Latino and All Communities. Stay tuned for more details, coming soon.




Healthy Eating Research is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation with direction and technical assistance provided by Duke University.