Year of Publication



Public Health

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Richard Ingram, DrPH

Committee Member

Tyrone Borders, PhD, FACE

Committee Member

Keith Knapp, PhD, CNHA, CNA


Obesity, chronic disease, and poor nutrition are prevalent in the United States while healthcare costs rise. Nutritional research advancements have suggested the healthfulness of plant-based diets. In 2018, the California state senate passed Senate Bill 1138, requiring plant-based meal options in hospitals and prisons. This paper sought to examine the context surrounding the bill, determine the appropriateness of the bill, and recommend next steps for nutritional policies in the United States. In a review of the literature, malnutrition in hospitals and prisons is highly prevalent, and state governments have already made efforts to improve their citizens’ nutrition. In this analysis, Bardach’s eightfold path for policy analysis was used as a framework to determine the appropriateness of SB 1138. Three alternatives to SB 1138 were chosen to compare to the bill. Criteria to determine appropriateness were time, place, and manner. Based on time, place, and manner, SB 1138 was chosen as the most appropriate out of the four choices. Recommendations were made following the analysis. The state of Kentucky should adopt a bill like SB 1138, and the public health community should adopt a plant-based diet as the optimal diet for public health.

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