Increasing Access to Free School Meals to Address Food Insecurity and Improve Diet Quality

August 7, 2023

What children eat today affects their future cancer risks. Poor diet, including the consumption of high-calorie foods and beverages, is a major contributor to excess weight. And there is increasing evidence that excess body fat over the course of a lifetime, beginning in childhood, has adverse health consequences,[i] including cancer. 

Children with access to nutritious food are more likely to develop healthy eating habits they can continue to use into adulthood. Offering nutritious free school meals and snacks, before, during, and after school to all students is an effective policy intervention to address food insecurity and improve diet quality.


[i] American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2022. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2022.