Child Health & Nutrition

1 out of every 5 uninsured children in the United States lives in Texas

CHILDREN AT RISK believes all children deserve a healthy food environment, safe opportunities for an active lifestyle, and access to preventative health services.

Center for Child Health Research & Policy

The Center for Child Health Research & Policy (CCHRP) strives to improve the health of all children through collaboration, policy, research, and education. The Center believes that organizations across sectors should work together to create an infrastructure that aims to provide all children with a healthy food environment, safe opportunities for an active lifestyle, and access to preventative health services.

CHILDREN AT RISK’s Center for Child Health Research & Policy: 

  • Collaborates with Doctors for Change, Rice University’s Kinder Institute Urban Health Program, public school districts, hospitals, and clinics on how to feed hungry and food insecure children
  • Researches and advocates for policies that protect recess and outdoor playtime for children in schools
  • Advocates for strategies to increase  access to healthy foods, both during the school day and in a child’s daily environment

Our Latest Health & Nutrition Research & Resources

Texas School Food Rankings

Across Texas, over 3 million low-income students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals through federal programs such as the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program. For many of these children, meals eaten at school are the only substantial meals they will receive during the day. School districts are critical players in implementing school food programs – yet, some districts are doing better than others in providing breakfast, lunch, and after-school meals to students in need. 

The Texas School Food Rankings recognize the schools that are doing an excellent job at ensuring Texas’ students are getting nutritious meals throughout the day.

Closing the SNAP GAP

The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as “food stamps,” is the nation’s first line of defense against poverty and hunger, and has been proven to be an effective, efficient source of temporary assistance for families in need. Not only does SNAP help lift families out of poverty, but every federally funded SNAP dollar generates $1.79 in economic activity, supporting farmers, food producers, food retailers, and other businesses, and creating jobs in the Houston area. 

Produced by the Houston SNAP Task Force, Closing the SNAP Gap: Recommendations to Prevent Hunger & Strengthen SNAP in Houston, provides insights from state and local representatives, private businesses, non-profit leaders, and people with direct experience with SNAP. Feedback and advice were also obtained through focus groups comprised of a diverse set of low-income Houstonians.

The Status of School Recess in Texas School Districts

For students, recess serves as a break in the day for brains to relax and bodies to recharge. This time, often short, brings joy to many school children and teachers alike, yet its presence in a daily school schedule is not guaranteed.

Currently, there is no mandate in Texas around school recess, but rather, the minutes for recess should follow guidelines set by the district’s School Health Advisory Council (SHAC). While SHACs across Texas have worked to stabilize school recess minutes, it is widely acknowledged by education leaders across the state that school recess is consistently being shortened or removed entirely. With generous support from the Memorial Hermann Community Benefit Corporation, CHILDREN AT RISK set out to gather both quantitative and qualitative data to determine 1) if there are recess policies in place, 2) how recess is being implemented, and 3) to identify potential obstacles to keeping daily recess in schools.

Universal School Breakfast & At-Risk Afterschool Meal Case Studies

CHILDREN AT RISK reached out to school districts across Texas to encourage & support their transition to Universal School Breakfast (USB). As part of our outreach efforts, C@R developed a series of case studies featuring the best practices of school districts already implementing USB. These case studies serve as a reference and guide for districts expanding their breakfast programs and aim to provide examples of the best distribution methods seen to date in Texas.

Healthy Food Retail Initiatives 

CHILDREN AT RISK supports both local & state-wide initiatives to address the critical need for improved healthy food access. In Houston, C@R successfully advocated for a Healthy Food Financing Initiative that supports the development of new supermarkets in underserved areas by providing grants, loans and tax credits. In Dallas, C@R collaborates to advance a Healthy Food Retail Initiative,  partnering with the existing corner, convenience, and small market/store owners to introduce and promote a healthier, more nutritious range of products. 

Recent Blog Posts

2019 School Food Rankings

Across Texas, over 3 million low-income students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals through federal programs such as the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program. For many of these children, meals eaten at school are the only...

read more