Honors Projects


This study aims to evaluate the nutritional impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on children within the U.S. by assessing how children’s nutritional patterns have changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, determining how these changes are impacted by participation in school federal nutrition assistance programs, and exploring additional food-related barriers the COVID-19 pandemic has created for families. A cross-sectional survey of American parents was used to evaluate changes to their children’s nutritional patterns. Data was collected through an electronic survey administered through the Qualtrics platform. Participants were recruited through Facebook advertisements and the distribution of electronic survey links. The COVID-19 pandemic did not cause a significant shift in intake of foods from the major food groups. It did result in increased snacking, particularly on processed foods. There were no correlations between nutritional patterns and participation in school nutrition assistance programs, although many parents now perceive these programs as more important. The COVID-19 pandemic also impacted shopping patterns, leading families to make less grocery store trips and purchase more shelf-stable foods. The increase in snacking on processed foods raises concerns about childhood obesity and other health issues. School nutrition programs are being perceived as increasingly important, and officials should ensure that all children can access these programs. The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered many families’ food purchasing patterns. Health officials and policy makers should consider the lasting impacts these changes may have on children’s lives as they implement strategies to combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Food and Nutrition


Nutrition Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Kerri Lynn Knippen

First Advisor Department

Public and Allied Health

Second Advisor

Dr. Kelly Stamper Balistreri

Second Advisor Department


Publication Date

Spring 4-23-2021