Publications

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  • Contributions of Nonalcoholic Beverages to the U.S. Diet

    ERR-1, March 23, 2005

    This report analyzes consumer demand and nutritional issues associated with nonalcoholic beverages purchased for at-home use by looking at demographic variables such as household size, household income, education level, and region. The beverages include milk, carbonated soft drinks, bottled water, fruit juices, fruit drinks, coffee, tea, and isotonics (sports drinks).

  • Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program, Fiscal 2005, Competitive Grants and Cooperative Agreements Program: Description and Application Process

    AP-016, March 18, 2005

    ERS's Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program accepted proposals for grants and cooperative agreements for fiscal 2005. The three priority research areas were (1) Strengthening Economic Incentives in Food Assistance Programs, (2) Food Assistance as a Safety Net, and (3) Food Choices, Diet Quality, Obesity, and Health Outcomes. This publication describes the research areas and application requirements. Funding for competitive awards in fiscal 2005 was approximately $1.5 million. The deadline for proposal submission was May 23, 2005.

  • Nutrition and Health Characteristics of Low-Income Populations: Body Weight Status

    AIB-796-3, February 14, 2005

    The Nutrition and Health Characteristics of Low-Income Populations study examined several measures of body weight status for children and adults using 1988-94 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data. The measures provide a baseline to monitor the weight status of Americans, focusing on the low-income population.

  • Nutrition and Health Characteristics of Low-Income Populations: Meal Patterns, Milk and Soft Drink Consumption, and Supplement Use

    AIB-796-4, February 14, 2005

    The Nutrition and Health Characteristics of Low-Income Populations study examined several eating behaviors for children and adults using 1988-94 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES-III) data. The measures provide a baseline to monitor eating behaviors of Americans, focusing on the low-income population.

  • Nutrition and Health Characteristics of Low-Income Populations: Clinic Measures of Iron, Folate, Vitamin B12, Cholesterol, Bone Density, and Lead Poisoning

    AIB-796-5, February 14, 2005

    The Nutrition and Health Characteristics of Low-Income Populations study examined several eating behaviors for children and adults using 1988-94 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES-III) data. This summary focuses on the nutritional biochemistry blood tests and bone density measures that showed differences between income groups. The measures provide a baseline to monitor eating behaviors of Americans, focusing on the low-income population.

  • Nutrition and Health Characteristics of Low-Income Populations: Healthy Eating Index

    AIB-796-1, February 14, 2005

    The Healthy Eating Index measures how well American diets conform to recommended healthy eating patterns, looking at 10 dietary components. The Nutrition and Health Characteristics of Low-Income Populations study examined the Healthy Eating Index using 1988-94 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES-III) data. The measures provide a baseline to monitor the dietary quality of Americans, focusing on the low-income population.

  • New Directions in Global Food Markets

    AIB-794, February 01, 2005

    This report describes how consumer preferences are driving changes in global food supply chains, including growth in private label sales and expansion of multinational retailers and manufacturers in developing countries.

  • Supermarket Characteristics and Operating Costs in Low-Income Areas

    AER-839, December 15, 2004

    Whether the poor pay more for food than other income groups is an important question in food price policy research. Stores serving low-income shoppers differ in important ways from stores that receive less of their revenues from Food Stamp redemptions. Stores with more revenues from Food Stamps are generally smaller and older, and offer relatively fewer convenience services for shoppers. They also offer a different mix of products, with a relatively high portion of sales coming from meat and private-label products. Metro stores with high Food Stamp redemption rates lag behind other stores in the adoption of progressive supply chain and human resource practices. Finally, stores with the highest Food Stamp redemption rates have lower sales margins relative to other stores, but have significantly lower payroll costs as a percentage of sales. Overall, operating costs for stores with high Food Stamp redemption rates are not significantly different from those for stores with moderate Food Stamp redemption rates. If the poor do pay more, factors other than operating costs are likely to be the reason.

  • Effects of Food Assistance and Nutrition Programs on Nutrition and Health: Volume 3, Literature Review

    FANRR-19-3, December 09, 2004

    This report provides a comprehensive review and synthesis of published research on the impact of USDA's domestic food and nutrition assistance programs on participants' nutrition and health outcomes. The outcome measures reviewed include food expenditures, household nutrient availability, dietary intake, other measures of nutrition status, food security, birth outcomes, breastfeeding behaviors, immunization rates, use and cost of health care services, and selected nonhealth outcomes, such as academic achievement and school performance (children) and social isolation (elderly). The report is one of four volumes produced by a larger study that includes Volume 1, Research Design; Volume 2, Data Sources; Volume 3, Literature Review; and Volume 4, Executive Summary of the Literature Review. The review examines the research on 15 USDA food assistance programs but tends to focus on the largest ones for which more research is available: food stamps, school feeding programs, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Over half of USDA's budget-$41.6 billion in fiscal year 2003-was devoted to food assistance and nutrition programs that provide low-income families and children with access to a healthy diet.

  • Effects of Food Assistance and Nutrition Programs on Nutrition and Health: Volume 4, Executive Summary of the Literature Review

    FANRR-19-4, December 07, 2004

    This report provides a summary of a comprehensive review and synthesis of published research on the impact of USDA's domestic food and nutrition assistance programs on participants' nutrition and health outcomes. The outcome measures reviewed include food expenditures, household nutrient availability, dietary intake, other measures of nutrition status, food security, birth outcomes, breastfeeding behaviors, immunization rates, use and cost of health care services, and selected nonhealth outcomes, such as academic achievement and school performance (children) and social isolation (elderly). The report is one of four volumes produced by a larger study that includes Volume 1, Research Design; Volume 2, Data Sources; Volume 3, Literature Review; and Volume 4, Executive Summary of the Literature Review. The review examines the research on 15 USDA food assistance and nutrition programs but tends to focus on the largest ones for which more research is available: food stamps, school feeding programs, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Over half of USDA's budget-$41.6 billion in fiscal year 2003-was devoted to food assistance and nutrition programs that provide low-income families and children with access to a healthy diet.

  • Nutrition and Health Characteristics of Low-Income Populations: Volume IV, Older Adults

    EFAN-04014-4, December 01, 2004

    Data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES-III), conducted in 1988-94, were used to compare the nutrition and health characteristics of the Nation's older adults-men and women ages 60 years and older. Three groups of older adults were compared based on household income: income at or below 130 percent of poverty (lowest income), income between 131 and 185 percent of poverty (low income), and income above 185 percent of poverty (higher income). This research was designed to establish a baseline from which to monitor the nutrition and health characteristics of older Americans over time, particularly those in low- and lowest income groups.

  • Nutrition and Health Characteristics of Low-Income Populations: Volume I, Food Stamp Program Participants and Nonparticipants

    EFAN-04014-1, December 01, 2004

    Data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES-III), conducted in 1988-94, were used to compare the nutrition and health characteristics of participants and nonparticipants in the Food Stamp Program (FSP). FSP participants were compared with two groups of nonparticipants-those who were income-eligible for the FSP (income at or below 130 percent of poverty) and those with higher incomes (income above 130 percent of poverty). This research was designed to establish a baseline from which to monitor the nutritional and health characteristics of FSP participants and nonparticipants over time.

  • The Role of Economics in Eating Choices and Weight Outcomes

    AIB-791, October 28, 2004

    This report uses data from the USDA's 1994-96 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals and the 1994-96 Diet and Health Knowledge Survey to ascertain whether economic factors help explain weight differences among adults. Weight differs among demographic subgroups, and differences in specific behaviors, health awareness, and eating patterns can be linked to weight outcomes. An economic framework helps explain how socioeconomic factors affect an individual's ability to achieve good health. Our results suggest that income, household composition, and formal education help explain variation in behaviors and attitudes that are significantly associated with weight outcomes.

  • Prototype Notebook: Short Questions on Dietary Intake, Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors

    EFAN-04010, September 10, 2004

    This report provides a compendium of 128 survey questions used in previous research to assess dietary knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors for low-income populations over the age of 18. The short questions or sets of questions on nine topics, including fruits and vegetables; grains, legumes, and fiber; variety; fat; calcium food sources; nonalcoholic beverages; knowledge, attitudes; and behaviors, are drawn from an extensive inventory and evaluation of available questions reported in the research literature. Each question is presented using a common template including the citations, data sources, and characteristics such as question reliability, validity, sensitivity to change, availability in other languages, mode of administration, use in populations with low-income and/or low-education levels, relation to nutrition and health outcomes, and availability of comparative data. This report is part of a larger ERS research effort to develop a common core set of questions to assess the dietary behavior impact of Food Stamp Nutrition Education (FSNE) on Food Stamp Program participants.

  • How Expensive Are Fruits and Vegetables Anyway?

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2004

    Almost half of Americans think eating more fruits and vegetables would improve their diets, so why don’t they? One argument is that produce is expensive. Yet an ERS study finds that consumers can eat three servings of fruit and four servings of vegetables for 64 cents a day, which represents 12 percent of daily food expenditures per person.

  • Current Issues in Economics of Food Markets

    AIB-747, August 13, 2004

    These reports synthesize economic analyses of the complex relationships in food markets of interest to officials responsible for public policy, decisionmakers in the industry, and researchers. Topics addressed so far include the economizing practices of low-income households in making food purchases, the increasing vertical coordination and integration of the industry, the link between consolidation of retailers and orange juice prices, the effects of a higher minimum wage on food prices, how taxes affect food markets, and lessons learned from the use of rbST in dairy production.

  • How Much Do Americans Pay for Fruits and Vegetables?

    AIB-790, July 20, 2004

    This analysis uses ACNielsen Homescan data on 1999 household food purchases from all types of retail outlets to estimate an annual retail price per pound and per serving for 69 forms of fruits and 85 forms of vegetables. Among the forms we priced, more than half were estimated to cost 25 cents or less per serving. Consumers can meet the recommendation of three servings of fruits and four servings of vegetables daily for 64 cents.

  • WIC and the Retail Price of Infant Formula

    FANRR-39-1, June 01, 2004

    Rebates from infant formula manufacturers to State agencies that administer the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) support over one-quarter of all WIC participants. However, concerns have been raised that WIC and its infant formula rebate program may significantly affect the infant formula prices faced by non-WIC consumers. This report presents findings from the most comprehensive national study of infant formula prices at the retail level. For a given set of wholesale prices, WIC and its infant formula rebate program resulted in modest increases in the supermarket price of infant formula, especially in States with a high percentage of WIC formula-fed infants. However, lower priced infant formulas are available to non-WIC consumers in most areas of the country, and the number of these lower priced alternatives is increasing over time.

  • Meat and Poultry Plants' Food Safety Investments: Survey Findings

    TB-1911, May 14, 2004

    A national survey of meat slaughter and processing plants indicates that market forces, in conjunction with regulation, have worked to promote the use of more sophisticated food safety technologies.

  • The Economics of Obesity: A Report on the Workshop Held at USDA's Economic Research Service

    EFAN-04004, May 13, 2004

    Since the mid-1970s, the prevalence of obesity and overweight has increased dramatically in the United States. The prevalence of overweight has tripled among children and adolescents, and nearly two out of three adult Americans are either overweight or obese. Although high health, social, and economic costs are known to be associated with obesity, the underlying causes of weight gain are less understood. At a basic level, weight gain and obesity are the result of individual choices. Consequently, economics, as a discipline that studies how individuals use limited resources to attain alternative ends, can provide unique insight into the actions and forces that cause individuals to gain excessive weight. In April 2003, USDA's Economic Research Service and the University of Chicago's Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies and the George J. Stigler Center for the Study of the Economy and the State jointly hosted a workshop on the Economics of Obesity. The purpose was to provide an overview of leading health economics research on the causes and consequences of rising obesity in the United States. Topics included the role of technological change in explaining both the long- and short-term trends in obesity, the role of maternal employment in child obesity, the impact of obesity on wages and health insurance, behavioral economics as applied to obesity, and the challenges in measuring energy intakes and physical activity. The workshop also discussed policy implications and future directions for obesity research. This report presents a summary of the papers and the discussions presented at the workshop.