USDA AWARDS $2.5 MILLION FOR RESEARCH ON FOOD AND NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
Washington, Oct. 24, 2007—Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner today announced $2.5 million in grant and cooperative agreement awards in ten states and the District of Columbia for research on food and nutrition assistance.
"USDA administers 15 domestic food and nutrition assistance programs that work to provide a nutritional safety net for children and low-income adults" said Conner. "Sound research helps these programs continue to operate effectively and efficiently."
The goal of the research is to examine, evaluate, and enhance USDA's food and nutrition assistance programs. The grants and cooperative agreements will fund projects in California, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Utah.
The projects will examine a number of program-related issues, including:
impacts of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and the Food Stamp Program on health and economic well-being;
effect of school lunch on students' 24-hour consumption patterns;
quality of the diets of school meal program participants and nonparticipants;
effectiveness of new approaches of marketing healthy meals to youth;
effects of Food Stamp Program participation and duration of participation on household food security;
effects of State policies on Food Stamp Program eligibility and participation;
effects of food prices and income on the consumption of fruits and vegetables in low-income households;
effectiveness of behavioral economics factors in improving food choices;
relationship between time use and the risk of being overweight or obese.
The research projects are competitively awarded by the Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program (FANRP), administered by USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS). FANRP studies and evaluates the performance of, and issues related to, the Food Stamp Program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, and Child Nutrition Programs.
FANRP Research Funding Opportunities: Fiscal 2007 Awards
FANRP's competitive grants and cooperative agreements program made awards in fiscal 2007 to fund research on food choices: economic determinants and consequences; economic incentives and policy choices in food assistance programs; and food assistance as an economic safety net. The program is publicly announced and competitively awarded through the use of peer review panels. Click here to view the project descriptions at a glance.
Food Choices: Economic Determinants and Consequences
Food Demand in Low-Income Households
Steven Yen; University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
This study will estimate the effects of food prices and household income on the demand for fruits, vegetables, and other food products in low-income households, using data from the ACNielsen Homescan panel survey of household food purchases and the National Food Stamp Program Survey. The research will expand on earlier work by focusing on low-income households and using a hierarchical demand model to examine demand for subgroups of foods within the broader food categories.
Diane Schanzenbach; University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
This project will collect and link information on individuals' food intake and time use throughout the day with psychological and cognitive factors to gain insight into new strategies to improve dietary choices. Using contemporary behavioral economics concepts, the study will develop and test new survey questions for measuring psychosocial and cognitive factors that have proven fruitful in understanding consumer behavior in other areas.
Measuring Consumption Response to Prices in a Dynamic Model of Consumer Food Purchase Behavior
Research Triangle Institute, Research Triangle Park, NC
This study will analyze the economic determinants of food purchasing and consumption behavior of low-income households, using data from the ACNielsen Homescan panel survey of food purchases. An inventory model will be used to examine shortrun and longrun responses to food prices. The study will also examine the longrun implications of package sizes on overconsumption.
Assistance Type Cooperative Agreement: $249,494
Altering Social and Convenience Costs To Improve Students' Lunch Choices
David Just; Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
This project will examine the effectiveness of several behavioral economic and food psychology concepts in encouraging healthier food choices. Three experiments will be conducted. The first will examine the possibility of stigmatizing less healthy food choices or imposing status on healthier food choices through "branding" (such as labeling lighter options "Fresh Bites"). The second will examine whether inconvenience can be used to discourage the purchase of less healthy items without decreasing student satisfaction or reducing cafeteria revenue. The third will examine whether pre-commitment leads to less impulsive, and perhaps healthier, food choices.
Cooperative Research Agreement: $200,000
The Role of Time Use in Promoting Healthy Energy Balance
Cathleen Zick; University of Utah, Salt lake City, UT
This study will examine trends in time use, energy expenditure, and food consumption to gain insights into the changes in energy balance that have led to the increased prevalence of obesity. The project will assess the effect of economic factors such as wage rates, food stamp eligibility/participation, prices, and income, on energy balance-related time use, drawing on data from the 2006 American Time Use Survey (ATUS) and the 1975-76 Time Use in Economic and Social Accounts Study.
Cooperative Research Agreement: $100,000
Employment Status and Food Stamp Program Participation as Determinants of Eating Patterns of Low-Income Households
Geetha Waehrer ; Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Calverton, MD
This research will examine how employment and food stamp participation alters meal preparation and consumption patterns. Researchers will use data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Statistical methods will be used to account for the simultaneity of program participation and employment decisions and their respective effects on food preparation time and eating patterns.
Economic Incentives and Policy Choices in Food Assistance Programs
Incorporating Nutrition and Economic Factors Into Planning School Lunch
Helen Jensen; Iowa State University, Ames, IA
Foods offered through the National School Lunch Program do not translate directly into increased nutrient intake by students because students have a choice in food selection and in the amounts consumed in the school meal as well as elsewhere over 24 hours. Data from the 2005 School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study (SNDA-III) will be used to model the relationship between foods and nutrients offered in school lunches and what participants actually consume at lunch and over 24 hours. The model will consider food costs, school environment, and food policy variables, such as the availability of competing foods and vending machines.
Assistance Type Cooperative Agreement: $213,365
The Effects of Subsidized School Meals on Children's Diet Quality
Mary Kay Fox ; Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., Princeton, NJ
This study will assess the quality of the diets of school meal participants and nonparticipants, using the updated version of USDA's Healthy Eating Index (HEI-2005). Data from the third School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study (SNDA-III) will be analyzed to determine the effect of school meal participation on students' diet quality.
Assistance Type Cooperative Agreement: $140,000
Assessing Alternative Policies for Improving the School Food Environment
Sonya Jones; University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Several States have enacted policies that limit foods and beverages sold at schools in competition with USDA school meal programs, as a means of reducing childhood obesity and improving students' diets. Such policies provide an opportunity to conduct a natural experiment of the effectiveness of such measures. Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K), this study will examine outcomes associated with State policies governing the school food environment. Relevant outcomes include the types of food and beverages purchased at school, frequency of consumption for certain foods and beverages, participation in school meal programs, and child weight status.
The Economic Impact of School Meal Certification Approaches on the Uptake of Free- and Reduced-Price Meals
Michael Ponza; Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., Princeton, NJ
This study will assess the effects of school- and student-level factors on participation in the USDA school meal programs, using data from the Food and Nutrition Service's Access, Participation, Eligibility, and Certification Study. School-level factors include whether students who are certified for free or reduced-price meals actually participate (i.e., take the meals), use of direct certification, Provision 2 or 3 status, and use of electronic meal payment technology. Student-level factors include household economic, demographic, and food security status, as well as child and parent attitude toward school meals. Reported household school meal certification and participation will also be compared with school administrative data, adding to the understanding of accuracy of program participation reporting.
Assistance Type Cooperative Agreement: $185,000
Interactions Between the Food Stamp Program and the Economy
Laura Castner; Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., Washington, DC
Using a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches, this project will investigate changes in Food Stamp Program (FSP) participation as related to measures of economic activity and FSP policies. In addition to examining effects on the aggregate FSP caseload, the study will separately analyze changes in the number of individuals eligible for the program and the participation rate among those eligible. Both static and dynamic models will be estimated using State-level cross-section time-series data from microsimulation models for the period 1999-2006. A select survey of FSP administrators and community organizations will supplement the analyses.
Assistance Type Cooperative Agreement: $185,000
Food Assistance as an Economic Safety Net
Impact of Food Stamps and WIC on Health and Longrun Economic Outcomes
Hilary Hoynes; University of California-Davis, Davis, CA
This study will use "natural experiments" created from variations in the timing of availability of the Food Stamp Program (FSP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). The study will link county-level data on program introduction dates and vital statistics to examine the shortrun impacts of the FSP and WIC on health outcomes, such as birthweight, low birthweight births, and infant mortality. Longitudinal data from the Panel Survey of Income Dynamics (PSID) (1968-2005) will be used to examine the impact of in utero and childhood exposure to the FSP on adult outcomes, such as completed education, employment, earnings, income, Body Mass Index, chronic health conditions, and work/activity limitations.
Food Sufficiency, the Role of Food Stamp Program Participation, Duration, and Policies
Signe-Mary McKernan ;The Urban Institute, Washington, DC
This study will examine the extent to which Food Stamp Program (FSP) participation and duration of participation affect food sufficiency, using data from the 1996, 2001, and 2004 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) panels and the FSP Rules Database. The FSP Rules Database provides a unique set of FSP policy variables that show promise as instruments for controlling for selection bias. A number of approaches will also be used to examine duration of FSP participation and its effects on food insufficiency.
Assistance Type Cooperative Agreement: $150,000
Assessing Effects of Food Stamps on Child Outcomes When Program Participation Is Misreported
Craig Gundersen; Iowa State University, Ames IA
This study investigates problems of identifying Food Stamp Program effects on outcomes when households do not accurately report program participation. Analyses of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and the Panel Survey of Income Dynamics (PSID) data will be undertaken to determine the extent of the identification problem for different levels of misreporting of Food Stamp Program participation. A large range of child nutrition-related outcomes, including diet quality and anthropometric indicators, will be investigated.