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Special AJPH Supplement Explores Disparities in Equitable Access to Federal Nutrition Assistance Programs

Date: Dec 20 2023

Contact: APHA Media Relations

The American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) and policy research and data analytics firm Mathematica have partnered to publish a groundbreaking special issue focused on ongoing inequities in access to nutrition assistance services and supports. These eye-opening editorials and studies reveal actionable insights into the policies required to break down barriers hindering access to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's food assistance programs. 

“Equitable access to nutrition-related programs and services is critical to address childhood hunger and support the health and well-being of families, but who is participating—and more tellingly, who is not—suggests that families that may truly benefit are not always reached,” said Rachel Bleiweiss-Sande, a nutrition researcher at Mathematica who also served as lead guest editor for this supplement. “Mathematica is pleased to partner with AJPH in the development of this special issue, because we recognize that uplifting this type of work can move the needle toward meaningful policy change.”

Key articles in the supplement indicate that:

  • The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) has played a vital role in providing nutritious meals and snacks for children and adults for more than 50 years. However, there has been a distinct decline in CACFP participation, demonstrating a need for support and outreach for eligible providers.
  • SNAP and WIC have the potential to benefit the long-term nutritional health of young children, but program updates are needed.
  • The pandemic had a significant impact on equitable access to nutrition programs.
  • Updates across nutrition support programs and policies to remove barriers to accessing programs for the most vulnerable populations could greatly improve supports for low-income families with children.

The special AJPH supplement, Understanding Policies and Strategies to Increase Equitable Access to Family Nutrition Support, serves as a catalyst for change. As we navigate the challenges of ensuring equitable access to nutrition, this supplement is a guide to actionable steps and policy changes that can shape a healthier future for all. It is currently available online. To request a full copy of a study or for information on scheduling interviews, contact APHA Media Relations.


Support for this special issue was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation.

Mathematica is an employee-owned, mission-driven company with trusted expertise in data science, social science, technology, and advisory services across health, human services, and international development. We collaborate closely with federal agencies, state and local governments, foundations, businesses, universities, and professional associations to address pressing social issues, improve programs and policy, and drive equitable outcomes. Visit us at


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