Current Activities

ERS Contributions to Understanding Obesity Recognized

'Weighing In on Obesity,' a collection of articles in the final issue of ERS’s FoodReview magazine, has been selected as a Merit winner in the 2003 National Health Information Awards. Sponsored by the Health Information Resource Center, a national clearinghouse for consumer health information programs and materials, this award represents a “seal of quality” for health professionals in search of consumer health information resources for their programs. Other winners include the Mayo Clinic, and the National Cancer Institute. These articles represent early contributions to ERS’s ongoing research on the economic aspects of diet and health.

Rural Demographic Trends from 2000 Census Data

Rural regions and communities are changing rapidly from increased inmigration, changes in age and racial/ethnic composition, and related social and economic restructuring. ERS is investigating whether these changing patterns are contributing to the revitalization of many small towns or are seriously straining local resources. Using newly released 2000 Census data, ERS, in cooperation with Cornell University, will explore how changing demographic trends in rural areas affect employment and earnings, family structure, human capital development, land use, and social and economic well-being. William Kandel

Changing Patterns of Food Consumption

U.S. food consumption patterns have changed considerably in the last three decades. ERS researchers are studying consumer food preferences by age, income, region, race, site of consumption (at home or away), and other characteristics and publishing their results in a series of articles. The first article examined the demographics of dry bean consumption, while more recent reports have focused on mushrooms and oranges. For example, the orange study found that per capita orange consumption is greatest in the Northeast and West. Seniors (men and women age 60 and over) consume the most fresh oranges per capita, while children age 12 to 19 consume the most orange juice. Future studies will focus on pork, beef, and chicken consumption. These studies contribute to our understanding of the consumer side of the market, an area we know much less about than the supply side. Biing-Hwan Lin and Chris Davis

ERS Awards Grants for Research on the Economics of Invasive Species Management

ERS recently awarded 12 grants totaling $1.5 million for research on the economics of invasive species management. Research will focus on three areas: (1) the economics of trade and invasive species, (2) resource implications of invasive species policy and program alternatives, and (3) bio-economic integration and risk assessment. Award recipients and details of their planned research are available on the invasive species issues topic page. Donna Roberts