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  • 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.

  • Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program, Fiscal 2004, Competitive Grants and Cooperative Agreements Program: Description and Application Process

    AP-014, March 19, 2004

    ERS's Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program accepted proposals for grants and cooperative agreements for fiscal 2004. The three priority research areas were (1) Strengthening Economic Incentives in Food Assistance Programs, (2) Food Assistance as a Safety Net, and (3) Obesity, Diet Quality, and Health Outcomes. This publication describes the research areas and application requirements. Funding for competitive awards in fiscal 2004 was approximately $1.0-1.5 million. The deadline for proposal submission was May 24, 2004.

  • The Demand for Food Away from Home: Full-Service or Fast Food?

    AER-829, January 23, 2004

    Population trends and rising incomes are expected to sustain growth in spending for food at full-service and fast food restaurants.

  • International Trade and Food Safety: Economic Theory and Case Studies

    AER-828, November 07, 2003

    This report examines the conceptual relationships between food safety and international trade and analyzes empirical examples from the meat and poultry, produce, food and animal feed crop, and seafood sectors.

  • Free Fruit and Vegetable Snacks a Big Hit in Schools

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2003

    Free fruit and vegetable snacks were provided to over 64,000 children in 107 elementary and secondary schools as part of USDA's Fruit and Vegetable Pilot Program during the 2002-03 school year. The program was popular among most students, parents, school teachers, principals, pilot managers, foodservice staff, and representatives of State child nutrition programs.

  • Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program-Impacts on Program Access and Integrity

    EFAN-03009, October 07, 2003

    About 61 percent of school districts used direct certification in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) in the 2001-02 school year, the same share as in 1996. Direct certification increased the number of children certified for free meals by about 400,000 and slightly increased overall NSLP participation. Under direct certification, school districts use information from State welfare or food stamp offices to certify children to receive free meals. To qualify, the children's families must receive food stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or assistance from the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations. Children's families who are directly certified do not have to complete certification applications. Direct certification was designed primarily to improve NSLP access and administrative efficiency. The Executive Summary provides highlights and the full report provides details of a study on the prevalence of direct certification, its implementation methods, and its effects on NSLP access and integrity.

  • International Evidence on Food Consumption Patterns

    TB-1904, October 06, 2003

    This report analyzes expenditures on major consumption categories including food and different food subcategories across 114 countries. It also presents estimated expenditure responsiveness or elasticities with price and income changes for each of the major consumption categories and food subcategories for individual countries in the study. The data in this report are available electronically. See the International Food Consumption Patterns data product.

  • Dynamics of Poverty and Food Sufficiency

    FANRR-36, September 02, 2003

    This study examines dynamics in poverty and food insufficiency using newly available longitudinal data from the 1993 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) and the follow-on Survey of Program Dynamics (SPD). The study uses these data to characterize the incidence and dynamics of poverty and food problems for the entire U.S. population and for different subgroups. It also estimates multivariate, discrete-choice regression models to examine the factors associated with transitions into and out of poverty and food insufficiency, and it analyzes the empirical results in the context of a life-cycle model of income and food consumption. Results indicate that the incidence of food insufficiency in the United States is low-less than 3 percent in 1997. There also appears to be little persistence in food problems; 79 percent of people in households with food problems at the start of the study period were in households without problems 2 years later. The multivariate results indicate that female-headed households face an especially high risk of being food insufficient. Low levels of asset income, an indicator of a household's ability to spread consumption over time, are also associated with food sufficiency problems.

  • Factors Affecting the Macronutrient Intake of U.S. Adults

    TB-1901, April 04, 2003

    This study characterizes factors associated with macronutrient excess or inadequacy among U.S. adults.

  • Dietary Differences Masked by Averages

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2003

    As the rates of obesity and related health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, continue to rise, the quality of our diets is being increasingly scrutinized by health professionals in both the public and private sectors. The diets of different sociodemographic groups are of particular interest to public health officials because of the disparities among these groups in terms of incidence of certain diseases, like obesity. With better knowledge of the dietary differences associated with gender, education, income, race, and ethnicity, public health officials can identify groups that are particularly vulnerable to poor health and devise appropriate strategies.

  • Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program, Fiscal 2003, Competitive Grants and Cooperative Agreements Program: Description and Application Process

    AP-012, March 13, 2003

    ERS's Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program accepted proposals for grants and cooperative agreements for fiscal 2003. The three priority research areas were (1) Program Design and Operations, (2) Food Assistance as a Safety Net, and (3) Obesity, Diet Quality, and Health Outcomes. This publication describes the research areas and application requirements. Funding for competitive awards in fiscal 2003 was approximately $1 million. The deadline for proposal submission was May 19, 2003.

  • Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program, Final Report: Fiscal 2002 Activities

    AP-011, February 24, 2003

    ERS's Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program (FANRP) supports intramural and extramural research on a wide range of policy-relevant food assistance and nutrition topics. The three perennial program themes are (1) diet and nutritional outcomes, (2) food program targeting and delivery, and (3) program dynamics and administration. The core food and nutrition assistance programs include the Food Stamp Program, the child nutrition programs, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). This report summarizes FANRP's activities and accomplishments in fiscal 2002.

  • Food and Agricultural Commodity Consumption in the United States: Looking Ahead to 2020

    AER-820, February 03, 2003

    This report analyzes how U.S. consumption of food commodities is projected to rise through 2020. The study uses date from USDA's food intake survey to project the consumption, through 2020, of 25 food groups and 22 commodity groups.