Mary Kay Fox

Mary Kay Fox

Senior Fellow; Director of Nutrition Research
  • Nutrition
  • Dietary intakes of infants, children, and low-income populations
  • Childhood obesity
  • School and child care food environments
Focus Areas
  • Nutrition
  • Childhood Obesity
  • Food Purchases, Intakes, and Dietary Quality
  • Food Security and Hunger
  • Nutrition and Food Assistance Programs
  • Human Services
About Mary Kay

Mary Kay Fox is a nationally recognized expert in nutrition, childhood obesity, and school food environments. She is also Mathematica's director for nutrition policy research.

Fox currently directs an evaluation of the Harlem Children’s Zone’s Healthy Living Initiative, an obesity prevention and treatment program implemented in child care centers, schools, and afterschool programs. She also directs the fourth School Nutrition Dietary Assessment study, a national study of school meal programs that is collecting data from more than 900 schools, and the Food and Nutrition Service WIC-Medicaid II project, which is assessing the impact of participation in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program on birth outcomes and Medicaid costs.

Widely published in peer-reviewed journals, Fox serves on two Institute of Medicine (IOM) committees, one to review the WIC food packages and another panel looking at the consequences of sodium reduction in different populations. Previous IOM work includes a committee to Review National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program Meal Patterns and Nutrition Standards as well as a similar IOM committee that completed comparable work for the Child and Adult Care Food Program. In addition, she is a member of “The B-24 Project,” a working group that aims to evaluate the evidence base to support inclusion of infants and children under the age of 2 in The Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Fox holds a master’s of education with a concentration in nutrition from Tufts University.

Key Projects
  • The School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study (SNMCS)

    The School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study provides data on a broad array of topics, including critical information about the food and nutrient content of school meals, the costs of school meals, the food environments in schools, and the contribution of school meals to children's overall diets.

  • Doctor examining baby that mother is holding
    FNS WIC-Medicaid Study II

    We use linked administrative data from WIC, Medicaid, and vital records to analyze associations between (1) WIC participation during pregnancy and birth outcomes, health care use/costs, and maternal behaviors and risk factors; and (2) child WIC participation and health care use and costs.

  • School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study IV (SNDA IV)

    Mathematica's SNDA-IV study examined the nutritional quality of meals and snacks offered and served to children in the NSLP and SBP. The study also assessed other issues related to school food environments and meal service operations, including policies about and availability of competitive foods (foods...

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