Building Healthy Communities

Grantee Name

Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy

Funding Area

Building Healthy Communities

Publication Date

January 2019

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

April 2016-May 2018

Nutrition education programs (NEPs) are school-based strategies designed to increase healthy food choices and improve nutrition-related behaviors.

NEPs can include a range of activities, including physical activity programs, school gardens, local food sourcing for cafeterias, or a formal nutrition curriculum. Much of the nutrition education in New York is implemented through NEPs, but very little research has been done on how New York State or City governments currently support, implement, and coordinate nutrition education. Studies suggest that at all levels of government, nutrition education is underfunded and lacks coordination. To direct resources to groups that need these opportunities the most and invest in innovative solutions, it is critical for stakeholders to have accurate data on the state of nutrition education. Currently, there is no clear picture of how much funding is available and where and how it is being spent.

In 2016, NYSHealth awarded the Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy a grant to assess the current state of nutrition education in New York City public schools and identify how the State supports nutrition education.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

What makes these reports unique is that they are the first and only comprehensive analyses of federal, State, and City policies and programs that can support nutrition education. The reports provide specific recommendations for policymakers to improve the nutrition education landscape that help New Yorkers eat well throughout their lives. Ultimately, advocates and other entities engaged in policy work will have a better understanding of the policy levers available to address nutrition education, and where to best direct their efforts. Among the findings:

  • Food and nutrition education is woven throughout many government initiatives, yet lacks coordination.
  • Educators and community members need a greater role in designing and implementing nutrition education policy.
  • New York State and City nutrition education initiatives are highly vulnerable to federal and state budget cuts.

The “A Is for Apple” final report and accompanying searchable database has garnered a lot of attention, with interest in replicating the project from other states and several regions of New York State. In New York City, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Council Member Mark Treyger introduced a bill to amend an administrative code in relation to reporting on food and nutrition education in New York City public schools, which would require the New York City Department of Education to report on the state of nutrition in schools.

Co-Funding and Additional Funds Leveraged: N/A