Hear from the authors of a new study published in the Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition that finds significant benefits for students attending schools that participate in the federal Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), a program which allows schools in high-poverty areas to offer school meals at no cost to all students. CEP streamlines meal service and reduces administrative costs for schools while also eliminating stigma and school meal debt for students and families. The study finds that students and families are two and a half times less likely to experience food insecurity if they attend a CEP school, as compared to students attending similar schools that are eligible but not participating in the CEP program – even after adjusting for race/ethnicity and education level of the parent. These findings are important because we know that children in food insecure households are at higher risk of poor health outcomes, and more likely to be suspended or repeat a grade in school. The research also found improved attendance rates in elementary and middle schools with CEP and a higher rate of students advancing beyond 10th grade in high schools with CEP. The webinar will review the study and its findings as well as strategies for advocating for CEP as part of a broader strategy to improve education outcomes and public health.

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