Skip to main content

Study of Nutrition and Activity in Childcare Settings in USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (SNACS)

Resource type
Research type
Assessing/Improving Operations
Benefit Content/Cost
Cost Study
Food Security
Food/Nutrient Analysis
Participation Characteristics
Promoting Healthy Eating
Report to Congress

Centers and family daycare homes participating in USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) play an important role in supporting the health and wellness of the children they serve. The Study of Nutrition and Activity in Childcare Settings (SNACS) is the first nationally representative, comprehensive assessment of the CACFP. Data were collected in program year (PY) 2016–17 from CACFP providers and participating children on:

  1. the wellness policies and practices of childcare providers,
  2. the nutritional quality of the meals served in CACFP,
  3. CACFP meal costs and revenues,
  4. the nutrient intake of infants and children in CACFP childcare settings and outside of childcare, and
  5. the observed plate waste in CACFP settings.

The CACFP providers in the study were both early care providers and before and after school care providers. Early care programs included childcare centers, Head Start programs and family daycare homes, and typically served infants through children ages 5 years and younger. Before and after school programs included At-Risk and Outside School Hours programs and typically served children ages 6 years and older. Findings serve as an important baseline for the subsequent updates to the meal pattern and nutrition standards, which were implemented in October 2017.

Page updated: November 05, 2021