Publications

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  • The Effects of Food Stamps on Obesity

    CCR-34, December 19, 2007

    This report uses 1985-2000 data from the 1979 cohort of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to examine the effects of the Food Stamp Program on obesity. The effects are found to differ by gender, level of benefits, and duration of participation.

  • Informing Food and Nutrition Assistance Policy: 10 Years of Research at ERS

    MP-1598, December 06, 2007

    Since 1998, Congress has provided funds to ERS to study and evaluate the Nation's domestic food and nutrition assistance programs. ERS has become the premier source of food and nutrition assistance research in the United States, sponsoring over 600 publications on a wide range of topics related to food and nutrition assistance. This report, prepared at the 10-year anniversary of the FANRP program, highlights some of the key research conducted during the program's first decade.

  • Household Food Security in the United States, 2007

    ERR-66, November 17, 2007

    Eighty-nine percent of American households were food secure throughout the entire year in 2007, meaning that they had access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. The remaining households (11.1 percent) were food insecure at least some time during the year. About one-third of food insecure households (4.1 percent of all U.S. households) had very low food security-meaning that the food intake of one or more adults was reduced and their eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year because the household lacked money and other resources for food. Prevalence rates of food insecurity and very low food security were essentially unchanged from those in 2005 and 2006.

  • Can Food Stamps Do More To Improve Food Choices? An Economic Perspective

    EIB-29, September 27, 2007

    Eight economic information bulletins compile evidence to address the question of whether the Food Stamp Program could do more to encourage healthful food choices.

  • Can Food Stamps Do More to Improve Food Choices? An Economic Perspective-Stretching the Food Stamp Dollar: Regional Price Differences Affect Affordability of Food

    EIB-29-2, September 27, 2007

    Significant regional differences in food prices affect how far food stamp benefits can go toward enhancing the diet of low-income consumers in a given region. In regions where average food prices exceed the national average, food stamp benefits may not provide the same level of coverage as the same benefit would in below-average-price regions. This report measures average prices paid across U.S. regions. Results show that a household made up of a family of four in the East or West could spend $32-$48 more per month for a similar amount of food than the average U.S. household, whereas a household in the South and Midwest could spend $12-28 less per month than the average U.S. household.

  • Can Food Stamps Do More to Improve Food Choices? An Economic Perspective-Making Healthy Food Choices Easier: Ideas From Behavioral Economics

    EIB-29-7, September 27, 2007

    With obesity the most prevalent nutrition problem facing Americans at all economic levels, promoting diets that provide adequate nutrition without too many calories has become an important objective for the Food Stamp Program. Findings from behavioral economics suggest innovative, low-cost ways to improve the diet quality of food stamp participants without restricting their freedom of choice. Unlike more traditional economic interventions, such as changing prices or banning specific foods, the strategies explored in this brief can be targeted to those participants who want help making more healthful food choices.

  • Food and Nutrition Assistance Programs and Obesity: 1976-2002

    ERR-48, September 21, 2007

    ERS investigated the extent to which overweight and obesity have increased over time among food food and nutrition assistance recipients compared with nonrecipient groups.

  • An Assessment of the Impact of Medicaid Managed Care on WIC Program Coordination With Primary Care Services

    CCR-33, September 19, 2007

    Coordination between the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and Medicaid has been an important component to ensuring access to primary care services for WIC clients. This study examines how increased use of managed care in the Medicaid program has affected WIC program coordination efforts.

  • Can Food Stamps Do More to Improve Food Choices? An Economic Perspective—Nutrition Information: Can It Improve the Diets of Low-Income Households?

    EIB-29-6, September 03, 2007

    The Food Stamp Nutrition Education (FSNE) component of the Food Stamp Program is intended to improve the food choices, diet quality, and health of program participants. This brief discusses the FSNE program, how it operates, and how it has grown over time. The brief also considers the challenges of nutrition education in general and discusses the research and evaluation needs suggested by the findings.

  • A Study of Locality, Agency, and Individual Characteristics Affecting Food Stamp Program Participation in Virginia

    CCR-32, August 13, 2007

    This study explores participation by Food Stamp Program recipients in other government programs, factors that explain variation in food stamp participation across Virginia’s localities, and ways in which the findings support other food stamp participation rate research. Study findings show that cross-program enrollment could be improved and that local agency factors are likely contributing to differing participation rates across Virginia.

  • RIDGE Project Summaries, 2006: Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Innovation and Development Grants in Economics Program

    CCR-31, August 07, 2007

    This report summarizes research findings from the Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Innovation and Development Grants in Economics Program (RIDGE), formerly known as the Small Grants Program. The report includes summaries of the research findings of projects that were awarded 1-year grants in summer and fall 2005. The projects examine issues of obesity in children and immigrants, food assistance program participation and household well-being, food security, community influence on food assistance and dietary choices, food prices and quality, and child nutrition.

  • Middle School Student Lunch Consumption: Impact of National School Lunch Program Meal and Competitive Foods

    CCR-30, June 06, 2007

    Based on lunchtime food records collected from students in three Houston area middle schools during school year 2001-02, study finds students who consumed mainly National School Lunch Program (NSLP) food reported higher intake of most nutrients, milk, fruits, and vegetables and lower intakes of sweetened beverages and candy than students who consumed mainly non-NSLP food. Students in the “mainly NLSP” group also consumed more sodium, fat, and saturated fat, however, and calorie intake was also higher for this group.

  • Could Behavioral Economics Help Improve Diet Quality for Nutrition Assistance Program Participants?

    ERR-43, June 01, 2007

    The increasing presence of nontraditional grocery retailers such as supercenters is generating new cost-cutting and differentiation strategies among traditional food retailers.

  • Characteristics of Low-Income Households With Very Low Food Security: An Analysis of the USDA GPRA Food Security Indicator

    EIB-25, May 31, 2007

    ERS provides information on the composition, location, employment, education, and other characteristics of households that experienced very low food security.

  • On The Map

    Amber Waves, May 01, 2007

    An average of 25.6 million people, or 8.7 percent of the U.S. population, received food stamps each month during fiscal year 2005, an increase from 8.1 percent in 2004.

  • Food Assistance: How Strong Is the Safety Net?

    Amber Waves, May 01, 2007

    Food-assistance programs provide a safety net to help U.S. households purchase sufficient food. These programs, particularly the Food Stamp Program, increase food spending and household income. In 2004, adding food stamp benefits to recipients' incomes raised 9 percent of recipients out of poverty. Food assistance programs, particularly the school meals and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) programs, have also been promoted as offering access to essential nutrients and minerals, however, the nutritional effects of these programs are uncertain.

  • National School Lunch Program Fills Food Assistance Gaps

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2007

    Participation in the National School Lunch Program is lower among high school students than among children ages 8-13. Greater use of electronic payment methods to prevent free meal recipients from being identified by their peers, along with changes in menus and improved cooking techniques, has increased participation.

  • Effects of WIC and Food Stamp Program Participation on Child Outcomes

    CCR-27, December 27, 2006

    This study examines the relationship between the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and Food Stamp Program participation and young children’s health and mistreatment outcomes. The analysis uses a unique individual-level longitudinal database that links administrative datasets on WIC and Food Stamp Program participation, Medicaid enrollment and claims, and child abuse and neglect reports in Illinois.

  • Household Food Security in the United States, 2005

    ERR-29, November 15, 2006

    Eighty-nine percent of American households were food secure throughout the entire year in 2005, meaning that they had access, at all times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. The remaining households were food insecure at least some time during that year. The prevalence of food insecurity declined from 11.9 percent of households in 2004 to 11.0 percent in 2005, while the prevalence of very low food security remained unchanged at 3.9 percent. This report, based on data from the December 2005 food security survey, provides the most recent statistics on the food security of U.S. households, as well as on how much they spent for food and the extent to which food-insecure households participated in Federal and community food assistance programs.

  • Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Innovation and Development Grants in Economics Program: Executive Summaries of 2005 Research Grants

    CCR-23, October 12, 2006

    This report summarizes research findings from the Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Innovation and Development Grants in Economics Program (RIDGE), formerly known as the Small Grants Program. The report includes summaries of the research projects that were awarded 1-year grants in summer and fall 2004. The projects examine issues of childhood obesity, food insecurity among vulnerable populations, food assistance program participation and household well-being, and community influence on food assistance and dietary choices.