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  • Nonresponse Bias Analysis of Body Mass Index Data in the Eating and Health Module

    TB-1934, August 15, 2012

    The ERS Eating and Health Module, a supplement to the American Time Use Survey (ATUS), included questions on height and weight so that respondents' Body Mass Index (BMI-a measure of body fat based on height and weight) could be calculated and analyzed with ATUS time-use data in obesity research. Some respondents did not report height and/or weight, and BMIs could not be calculated for them. Analyses focusing on correlations between BMIs and time use could be biased if respondents who did not report height and/or weight differ significantly in other observable characteristics from the rest of the survey respondents. However, findings reveal that any nonresponse bias associated with the height and weight data appears to be small and would not affect future analyses of BMIs and time-use pattern correlations.

  • Consumers Appear Indifferent to Country-of-Origin Labeling for Shrimp

    Amber Waves, June 05, 2012

    ERS researchers explored whether U.S. consumers adjusted their purchases of shrimp in response to the 2005 country-of origin labeling requirements for seafood. Findings show that consumers were not responsive to the new country-of-origin labels.

  • Food and Nutrient Intake Data: Taking a Look at the Nutritional Quality of Foods Eaten at Home and Away From Home

    Amber Waves, June 05, 2012

    Foods prepared in restaurants, school cafeterias, and other away-from-home eating places accounted for 42 percent of American households food budgets and 32 percent of calorie intake during 2005-08. How the nutritional quality of these foods differs from that of foods eaten at home is a critical factor affecting the quality of Americans diets.

  • What Role Do Food and Beverage Prices Have in Childhood Obesity?

    Amber Waves, June 05, 2012

    Price increases for some high-calorie foods and beverages were found to have small but statistically significant effects on children's BMI, and in the direction expected. Comparing the effects with the expected average growth in children's BMI over a year reveals a possibly large effect over time.

  • Investigating the Time Use Patterns of Obese Americans

    Amber Waves, June 05, 2012

    Data on time spent by Americans age 20 and older on 24 major activities reveal that the biggest differences between normal-weight people and obese people were in time spent watching television, participating in sports and exercise, and engaging in paid work.

  • Estimating the Range of Food-Insecure Households in India

    ERR-133, May 30, 2012

    Focusing on India, which has the world's largest food-insecure population, ERS analyzes a large household data set used by India's government to track household food security.

  • Americans More Realistic About Their Diet Quality

    Amber Waves, March 01, 2012

    Research has suggested that Americans view their diets too optimistically, underestimating the amount of calories in their diets, for example, or overestimating the nutritional value. Recent work by ERS suggests that, in recent years, such "optimistic bias" may be on the wane.

  • How Much Time Do Americans Spend on Food?

    EIB-86, November 09, 2011

    ERS presents an overview of Americans' eating and other food-related time-use patterns, including grocery shopping, meal preparation, and teenagers' time-use patterns in relation to school meals.

  • New Loss Estimates Suggest Higher Vegetable and Protein Consumption

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2011

    ERS contracted with an independent, nonprofit research organization to develop new consumer-level loss estimates to update those ERS has used since the mid-1990s. If the new food loss estimates are adopted, changes to ERS’s current Loss-Adjusted Food Availability data would vary for individual foods.

  • The Effect of Food and Beverage Prices on Children's Weights

    ERR-118, June 30, 2011

    ERS estimates the effect of prices of various foods on children's Body Mass Index (BMI), using price variation across time and geographic areas.

  • The WIC Fruit and Vegetable Cash Voucher: Does Regional Price Variation Affect Buying Power?

    EIB-75, May 04, 2011

    The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides supplemental foods to low-income women, infants, and children at nutritional risk. Since October 2009, WIC packages have included a fixed-value voucher for purchasing fruits and vegetables. Although this should help increase fruit and vegetable consumption for all WIC participants, regional price variation could lead to different buying power-and nutritional benefits-across the country. Using 2004-06 Nielsen Homescan data, the authors examine the prices of fruits and vegetables (fresh, frozen, and canned) in 26 metropolitan market areas to determine how price variations affect the voucher's purchasing power. The authors find that the 20 most commonly purchased fruits and vegetables cost 30-70 percent more in the highest priced market areas than in the lowest, implying that WIC participants in more expensive areas might be able to purchase fewer fruits and vegetables than those living where these items are cheaper. The lowest priced market for fruits and vegetables was the Nashville, Birmingham, Memphis, and Louisville area, while the highest was San Francisco.

  • Choosing Healthy Foods Is More Challenging for Teens

    Amber Waves, March 14, 2011

    Caloric increases from food away from home and foods from school for 13-18 year olds likely reflect an increased availability of many types of foods in middle and high schools, including a la carte side dishes and desserts.

  • Americans Can Satisfy Dietary Guidelines for Vegetables and Fruit for Under $2.50 Per Day

    Amber Waves, March 14, 2011

    In 2008, Americans on a 2,000-calorie diet could purchase the Dietary Guidelines-recommended quantity and variety of both fruit and vegetables for between $2.00 and $2.50 per day, or roughly 50 cents per edible cup equivalent.

  • Will Calorie Labeling in Restaurants Make a Difference?

    Amber Waves, March 14, 2011

    A 2010 Federal law will require U.S. chain restaurants to display calorie information on their menus and menu boards. Will consumers use this information to make healthier food choices?

  • How Much Do Fruits and Vegetables Cost?

    EIB-71, February 01, 2011

    ERS used retail scanner data to estimate the average prices of 153 fresh and processed fruits and vegetables. The report includes estimates of the cost of meeting the recommendations of USDA's recently released 2010 Dietary Guidelines

  • Compare Your Area's Food Environment With the Rest of the Country

    Amber Waves, December 01, 2010

    With over 90 food environment indicators, the ERS Food Environment Atlas provides a spatial overview of a community’s ability to access healthy food and its success in doing so.

  • Research Areas

    Amber Waves, December 01, 2010

    Selected statistics on agriculture and trade, diet and health, natural resources, and rural America

  • Canned Fruit and Vegetable Consumption in the United States: An Updated Report to Congress

    AP-050, November 10, 2010

    The Senate Report 111-039 accompanying S. 1406, the 2010 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, requested that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) prepare and publish a report regarding consumer perceptions of canned fruits and vegetables. In the absence of consumer surveys, the report relies on consumption and spending estimates to reveal attitudes of the U.S. population toward canned produce. This report updates Canned Fruit and Vegetable Consumption in the United States: Report to Congress (October 2008), using more recent data through 2008, where available.

  • How Food Away From Home Affects Children's Diet Quality

    ERR-104, October 04, 2010

    Compared with meals and snacks prepared at home, food prepared away from home increases caloric intake of children, especially older children. Among older children, food away from home also lowers their daily diet quality.

  • Taxing Caloric Sweetened Beverages To Curb Obesity

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2010

    ERS researchers found that a 20-percent tax on caloric sweetened beverages could reduce consumption, calorie intake, and body weight even after accounting for increased consumption of alternative beverages.