COVID-19 and Child Nutrition & Food Security

Children are the future of our nation. As we discuss nutrition for disease prevention to disease management, food insecurity is pertinent topic to address as well. Food insecurity is real. According to USDA in 2018 at least 11% of households were food insecure at least some time of the year and 1 in 7 household with children were affected by food insecurity in 2018.

USDA’s Food Nutrition Service Response to COVID-19 and Child Nutrition Food Security

“Child Nutrition Programs such as the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program served upwards of 22 million and 12.5 million meals on a daily average at a free or reduced price in 2018, respectively. Meals provided by the NSLP are reimbursed by the USDA and must provide children with one-third or more of key nutrient needs due to the fact that for many children this is their main meal of the day. About 75% of less-food-secure children consume their lunch at school; in addition, less-food-secure children consume a higher amount of their total caloric and nutrient intake from school foods in comparison to highly secure students. Therefore, due to the temporary closure of many schools across America during COVID-19, school districts and Child Nutrition Programs quickly developed plans to prevent further food insecurity to obscure the economical impact a pandemic brings. Over the summer, the USDA’s Summer Meal Program offered free meals to all students. Currently, schools are offering meals and snacks out-side of mealtimes allowing parents to pick-up meals before school or while children stay home. Free meal delivery services are available to eligible students by means of volunteers, teachers, or cafeteria staff.

If you know a family who may be facing food insecurity, encourage them to seek assistance with many of the Food Nutrition Services programs such as WIC, EBT, SNAP, or the school meal programs”- By Mariana Leon BS Nutrition and Dietetics

As a registered dietitian I believe, we as a community have power to support each other. I encourage you to support local food banks who serve food insecure in the area, minimize the food waste. Well written Mariana. Mariana was my student at Cal Poly Pomona and she always impressed me with her empathic attitude.


  1. USDA ERS – Charts. (2018, September). Retrieved September, 2020, from
  2. Potamites, E., & Gordon, A. (2010). Children’s Food Security and Intakes from School Meals(p. 97, Rep.). Princeton, NJ: Mathematica Policy Research.
  3. School Meals. (2020). Retrieved September, 2020, from
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Nourished Children! Fruitful Nation!

Mariana is a first-generation university graduate. She recently graduated with her BS in Food and Nutrition from Cal poly Pomona and her goal is to become Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. As a Nutrition graduate she hopes focus her career as preventive care in underserved community. Diabetes and intuitive eating. She works as nutrition assistant and serve as student committee coordinator for IND MIG.

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