Project SWEAT: A Nutrition and Physical Activity Assessment of USDA Summer Food Service Program Sites in Urban, Low-Income Zip Codes

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


The Ohio State University

Research Projects

Organizational Units

Journal Issue


Background: Childhood overweight and obesity persists, and the summer months are a window of risk for unhealthy child weight gain. Unfortunately, little is known about the food and physical activity [PA] environments to which kids are exposed during the summer. Objective: To examine the food and PA environments away from the home – specifically, USDA Summer Food Service Program [SFSP] sites – to which children are exposed during the summer months. Methods: Two Columbus City Schools in low-income, urban zip codes were recruited - 43205, 43206, 43207. The SFSP sites in the surrounding neighborhoods of the schools were identified. Sites were assessed using the Project SWEAT Site Environmental Assessment form. Results: 20 SFSP sites were identified. 70% (n=14) of sites were open SFSP sites. 90% (n=18) of sites had accessible water fountains. 25% (n=5) and 40% (n=8) of sites had snack and beverage vending machines with 100% (n=5) of snack vending machines having mixed healthy and unhealthy options. 88% (n=7) of sites had beverage vending machines having mixed healthy and unhealthy options and 12% (n=1) having only unhealthy options. Indoor and outdoor PA environments were present at 75% (n=15) and 85% (n=17) of sites; 35% (n=7), 5% (n=1), 60% (n=12), and 85% (n=17) had swimming pool, trampoline, playground equipment, and a basketball hoop. Outdoor fields were present at 80% (16) of sites, and indoor basketball hoops and outdoor playgrounds were each available at 60% (12) of sites. Indoor gyms were available at 75% (15) of sites. Seventy percent (n=14) of sites had screen time devices present, specifically children had access to televisions, computers, and video game consoles at 55% (n=11), 50% (n=10), and 15% (n=3) of sites respectively. Conclusions: Overall, the food and PA environments of the sites were favorable due to the availability of PA environments at most sites and the health of available snack and beverage sources. Information from this study can be used to reform policy to ensure child accessibility to positive environments during the summer months.