Economic Research Report No. (ERR-43) 34 pp

June 2007

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

As obesity has come to the forefront of public health concerns, there is growing interest in finding ways to guide consumers' food choices to be more beneficial for their long-term health. About one in five Americans participates in at least one nutrition assistance program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This study uses behavioral economics, food marketing, and psychology to identify possible options for improving the diets and health of participants in the Food Stamp Program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.

Keywords: Behavioral economics, food consumption, obesity, food stamps, National School Lunch Program, food assistance, WIC

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