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  • Price-Reducing Coupons Have a Dual Effect on Fruit and Vegetable Purchases

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2010

    A recent ERS study examined the use of price-reducing coupons to encourage fruit and vegetable consumption. The study found that coupon effectiveness depends on the amount of the discount and the share of households that redeem the coupons.

  • Research Areas

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2010

    Research area charts from the September 2012 issue of Amber Waves

  • Taxing Caloric Sweetened Beverages: Potential Effects on Beverage Consumption, Calorie Intake, and Obesity

    ERR-100, July 02, 2010

    ERS analyzes the effects of a hypothetical tax on caloric sweetened sodas, fruit drinks, sports and energy drinks, and powdered mixes. What choices would consumers make, and what would it mean for their calorie intake?

  • Promoting Fruit and Vegetable Consumption: Are Coupons More Effective than Pure Price Discounts?

    ERR-96, June 03, 2010

    ERS compares the potential effectiveness of coupons versus price discounts in encouraging fruit and vegetable consumption among participants in Federal food and nutrition assistance programs.

  • Tracking Changes in Dietary Awareness and Food Choices

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2010

    A number of constituencies—government nutrition and health agencies, food manufacturers, public health advocates, and food marketing firms—depend on reliable data to track changes in the food habits, behavior, and choices of U.S. consumers. ERS has partnered with the National Center for Health Statistics to gather such data.

  • Eating Out Increases Daily Calorie Intake

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2010

    Among all meals eaten outside the home, lunch has the largest impact on the average adult, adding 158 calories to daily intake, compared with lunch prepared at home. Eating dinner out increases intake by 144 calories. Each away-from-home snack adds just over 100 calories to daily intake. Breakfast away from home adds 74 calories.

  • Eating and Health Module User's Guide

    AP-047, April 05, 2010

    The Eating & Health (EH) Module of the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) collects additional data to analyze relationships among time use patterns and eating patterns, nutrition, and obesity; food and nutrition assistance programs; and grocery shopping and meal preparation. This User's Guide provides detailed guidance to researchers on how to use the EH Module to measure time use and eating patterns.

  • Americans Are More Realistic About the Quality of Their Diets

    Amber Waves, March 01, 2010

    Presumably, Americans are more realistic today about their diet quality because they have greater knowledge of what constitutes a healthy diet. In 2005-06, 79 percent of U.S. adults had heard of the Food Guide Pyramid, up from 33 percent in 1994, and 51 percent knew about the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, up from 30 percent in 1994.

  • Access to Affordable, Nutritious Food Is Limited in “Food Deserts”

    Amber Waves, March 01, 2010

    A small percentage of U.S. households live in “food deserts,” where access to a supermarket or large grocery store is a problem. Low-income residents of these neighborhoods and those who lack transportation tend to rely more on smaller neighborhood stores that may not carry healthy foods or offer them only at higher prices, which increases the risks of poor diets or food insecurity.

  • The Impact of Food Away From Home on Adult Diet Quality

    ERR-90, February 16, 2010

    Consumption data show that for the average adult, meals away from home have an impact on daily caloric intake and diet quality.

  • Vegetables and Melons Outlook: August 2009

    VGS-333-01, August 19, 2009

    Growth over time in the demand for fresh vegetables for at-home consumption may slow because of differences in the behavior of younger and older birth cohorts. A birth cohort includes people born in the same year and is similar in concept to a generation. People born around the same point in history may share common behaviors that they carry throughout their lives independent of age. People born more recently are found to spend less money for fresh vegetables than older Americans do. Changes in how people purchase and consume food may help to explain these effects.

  • Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food-Measuring and Understanding Food Deserts and Their Consequences: Report to Congress

    AP-036, June 25, 2009

    This report fills a request for a study of food deserts-areas with limited access to affordable and nutritious food-from the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. The report summarizes findings of a national-level assessment of the extent and characteristics of food deserts, analysis of the consequences of food deserts, lessons learned from related Federal programs, and a discussion of policy options for alleviating the effects of food deserts. Overall, findings show that a small percentage of consumers are constrained in their ability to access affordable nutritious food because they live far from a supermarket or large grocery store and do not have easy access to transportation.

  • Indicators- Amber Waves - June 2009

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2009

    Selected statistics on agriculture and trade, diet and health, natural resources, and rural America from June 2009.

  • An Illustrated Guide to Research Findings from USDA's Economic Research Service

    EIB-48, April 01, 2009

    This book contains a sampling of recent ERS research illustrating the breadth of the Agency's research on current policy issues: from biofuels to food consumption to land conservation to patterns of trade for agricultural products.

  • WIC and the Battle Against Childhood Overweight

    EB-13, April 01, 2009

    One of the most worrisome aspects of the growing tide of obesity in the United States is the high rate of overweight among children. Over one in five young children, ages 2 to 5, are at risk of being overweight. The number of children at risk of being overweight has grown in the past two decades, as has the number of young children whose families participate in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Are these increases connected? The answer appears to be "No." However, being from a low-income family, especially a low-income, Mexican-American family, does raise the probability of a child's being at risk for overweight. This brief examines trends in the relationship between WIC participation and weight status by updating the results of Food and Nutrition Assistance Programs and Obesity: 1976-2002 (ERR-48) to include data from the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

  • Supermarket Loss Estimates for Fresh Fruit, Vegetables, Meat, Poultry, and Seafood and Their Use in the ERS Loss-Adjusted Food Availability Data

    EIB-44, March 20, 2009

    Using new national estimates of supermarket food loss, ERS updates each fresh fruit, vegetable, meat, and poultry commodity in its Loss-Adjusted Food Availability data series.

  • Working Parents Outsource Children’s Meals

    Amber Waves, March 01, 2009

    Virtually all households take the dollar cost of food into account when making food choices. But for some households, the time involved in planning, shopping for, and preparing a meal is also an important consideration. Findings from the Eating & Health Module of the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) indicate that many working parents free up time by "outsourcing" their children's meals--that is, they purchase prepared meals for their children at school or day care.

  • Data Feature

    Amber Waves, March 01, 2009

    Health professionals, farmers, food companies, and policymakers want to know what Americans are eating, both the type of foods and how much. But charting the eating habits of 300 million people is not easy. Researchers rely on a number of surveys and data sources, each with strengths and weaknesses.

  • Research Areas

    Amber Waves, March 01, 2009

    This page contains research area charts from the March 2009 issue of Amber Waves.

  • When Nudging in the Lunch Line Might Be a Good Thing

    Amber Waves, March 01, 2009

    With over 30 million children served each school day, USDA-sponsored school meals provide an important opportunity to improve diet and health. Schools can exert considerable control over the food choices they offer and the manner in which they are presented. Understanding how simple rules of thumb and certain cues, like presentation and visual appeal, can influence our on-the-spot decisions can reveal potential options to increase the link between intentions and behaviors. Choice architecture relies heavily on subtle cues, or “nudges,” to encourage people to follow through on their intentions. Behavioral economic theory suggests several possibilities to structure school cafeteria environments in a noncoercive manner to encourage healthy choices.