Can Food Stamps Do More to Improve Food Choices? An Economic Perspective—How Can We Tell If We Are Making a Difference? ERS Efforts To Improve Evaluation of Nutrition Outcomes
by Elizabeth Frazao
, Joanne Guthrie
, and David Smallwood
Economic Information Bulletin No. (EIB-29-8) 4 pp, September 2007
Currently, the effects of the Food Stamp Program on the food choices and diet quality of participants are the subject of much debate. Improved evaluation of the nutrition and health effects of the program would be of use to program and policy officials, but most of the existing research is limited by three key factors: the difficulty in separating the effect of the program itself from other factors that may be related to program participation (that is, selection bias); relative age of the data (which do not capture current programs or population behaviors); and use of outdated dietary standards and assessment methods. This brief describes current ERS activities to address these problems and improve evaluation.
Keywords: Food Stamp Program, food consumption, food prices, food expenditures, nutrition education, behavioral economics, food choices, diet, health, fruits and vegetables, Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program, FANRP
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