Recent Nutrition Assistance Publications and Reports
This page offers relevant research and commentary relating to food assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and child nutrition. Nutrition assistance publications and reports archive available here.
- Coleman-Jensen, A., Rabbitt, M.P., Gregory, C.A., and Singh, A., 2017. Household food security in the United States in 2016, ERR-215, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
In addition to reporting official food security statistics, this high-profile annual report and its appendix also include useful information about major nutrition assistance programs.
- Oliveira, V., Prell, M., Tiehen, L., and Smallwood, D., 2018. Design Issues in USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Looking Ahead by Looking Back, ERR-243, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
This thorough and engaging report reviews the history of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) policy interventions, concluding with a timely section on contemporary policy proposals.
- Stacy, B., Tiehen, L., and Marquardt, D., 2018. Using a Policy Index To Capture Trends and Differences in State Administration of USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, ERR-244, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
This ERS report constructs a new SNAP Policy Index, useful as an explanatory variable in studies of the determinants of SNAP caseload changes over time.
- Berkowitz, S.A., Seligman, H.K., Rigdon, J., Meigs, J.B., and Basu, S., 2017. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participation and health care expenditures among low-income adults. JAMA Internal Medicine, 177(11):p.1642–1649.
Using data from low-income adults who participated in the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), this article found that participation in SNAP was associated with lower health care expenditures by approximately $1400 per year.
- Choi, S.E., Seligman, H., and Basu, S., 2017. Cost Effectiveness of Subsidizing Fruit and Vegetable Purchases Through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 52(5), pp.e147-e155.
Building on results from the Heathy Incentives Pilot (HIP), this article conducts a cost-effectiveness analysis of targeted fruit and vegetable incentives operating through SNAP’s electronic benefit transfer cards.
- Conrad, Z., Rehm, C.D., Wilde, P., and Mozaffarian, D., 2017. Cardiometabolic mortality by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participation and eligibility in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 107(3), pp.466-474.
As part of a larger literature on health equity and nutrition disparities, this article compares later mortality outcomes for persons who were participants and non-participants in SNAP.
- Franckle, R.L., Moran, A., Hou, T., Blue, D., Greene, J., Thorndike, A.N., Polacsek, M., and Rimm, E.B., 2017. Transactions at a northeastern supermarket chain: Differences by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program use. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 53(4), pp.e131-e138.
This article, co-authored by a RIDGE grantee, provides insight into SNAP benefit spending across food categories using supermarket scanner data, an important contribution given household-level data on SNAP spending is not publically available.
- Ismail, M. and Wilde, P., 2017. Beyond the Farm in the Farm Bill: What Nutrition Professionals Need to Know About the Nutrition Title. Nutrition Today, 52(6), pp.273-280.
A brief summary for nutrition and public health audiences about the Farm Bill's Nutrition Title, which is responsible for reauthorizing SNAP and related nutrition assistance programs, accounting for approximately 80% of the total cost of the Farm Bill.
- Lagisetty, P., Flamm, L., Rak, S., Landgraf, J., Heisler, M., and Forman, J., 2017. A multi-stakeholder evaluation of the Baltimore City virtual supermarket program. BMC Public Health, 17(1), p.837.
This article assessed the feasibility, sustainability, and efficacy of an online grocery ordering program to deliver food to low-income neighborhoods, a timely topic given piloting of online ordering with SNAP benefit.
- Leung, C.W., Musicus, A.A., Willett, W.C., and Rimm, E.B., 2017. Improving the nutritional impact of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Perspectives from the participants. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 52(2), pp.S193-S198.
Survey results of SNAP participants and food insecure SNAP non-participants provide their perspective on the current SNAP program, and indicate overall preference for SNAP+, an alternate program that incorporates healthful incentives and a sugar-sweetened beverage restriction.
- Prell, M. and Smallwood, D., 2017. Comparing alternative economic mechanisms to increase fruit and vegetable purchases, EIB-170, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
This report analyzes the economic theory of and evidence for various mechanisms (bonuses, rebates, and vouchers) of incentivizing fruit and vegetable purchases in SNAP.
- Rydell, S.A., Turner, R.M., Lasswell, T.A., French, S.A., Oakes, J.M., Elbel, B., and Harnack, L.J., 2017. Participant satisfaction with a food benefit program with restrictions and incentives. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. S2212-2672(17)p.31240-6.
Analysis of participant perspectives from the Harnack et al. 2016 pilot on incentives and restrictions additions to SNAP for income-eligible nonparticipants, this article finds no statistically significant differences in program satisfaction between experimental and control groups.
- Schanzenbach, D.S., 2017. The future of SNAP: Continuing to balance protection and incentives. American Enterprise Institute.
This report reviews the strong economic impact of SNAP in its current form and focuses reform suggestions around smart federal investment in employment programs and monitoring.
- Skyes, R., 2017. A safety net that works: Viewing the Food Stamp Program through a 44-year lens. American Enterprise Institute, pp.19-46.
One essay in a series on improving federal programs for low-income Americans, this paper provides perspective key topics for SNAP reform, including work programs, benefit levels, eligibility criteria, nutrition criteria, and other potential program rules changes.
- Sweitzer, M., Brown, D., Karns, S., Muth, M.K., Siegel, P., and Zhen, C., 2017. Food-at-home expenditures: Comparing commercial household scanner data from IRI and government survey data, TB-1946, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
This report compares IRI Consumer Network household panel data to nationally representative Government survey data; overall, expenditures in IRI are lower than those in the Consumer Expenditure Survey and National Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey for all food categories across all years.
- Thorndike, A.N., 2017. Obesity prevention in the supermarket-choice architecture and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. American Journal of Public Health, 107(10), p.1582.
This article explores healthy choice architecture as a requirement for SNAP retailers, considering potential impacts on purchasing decisions of SNAP and non-SNAP households and authorized retailer participation for various-sized stores.
- Ver Ploeg, M., Larimore, E., and Wilde, P., 2017. The influence of foodstore access on grocery shopping and food spending, EIB-180, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
This publication looks at shopping patterns of access-burdened households that do not use their own vehicle to travel to the store and live than 0.5 miles from the nearest SNAP-authorized supermarket or superstore, finding implications for store choice, shopping frequency, and spending.
- Wilde, P., Steiner, A., and Ver Ploeg, M., 2017. For Low-Income Americans, Living ≤1 Mile (≤1.6 km) from the Nearest Supermarket Is Not Associated with Self-Reported Household Food Security. Current Developments in Nutrition, 1(11), pp.e001644.
For Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (FoodAPS) households in three groups (SNAP, low-income non-SNAP, and higher-income non-SNAP), this cross-sectional analysis finds that having a supermarket less than 1 mile from home is not associated with improved household food security outcomes. In addition to proximity, it may be that other factors, such as having the use of an automobile, are important for household food retail access.
- Willey, J., Fettig, N., and Hale, M., 2017. The extent of trafficking in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: 2012-2014. Prepared by WRMA, Inc. for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service.
This report updates estimates of SNAP benefit trafficking, comparable to previous estimates, as a percentage of total benefits, total dollar amount, and by store type.
- National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2017. Review of WIC food packages: Improving balance and choice: Final report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
The third and final IOM report on revision of WIC food packages, final recommendations and supporting rationale are provided to improve both the attractiveness of the program to participants and its success in meeting the WIC program’s goals; to promote and support breastfeeding; and to safeguard the health of low-income women, infants, and children.
- Payne, C.R., Niculescu, M., Guthrie, J.F., and Mancino, L., 2017. Can a better understanding of WIC customer experiences increase benefit redemption and help control program food costs?. Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition, pp.1-11.
Focusing on retail challenges that maximize WIC program effectiveness, this article analyzes WIC customer experiences across different retail environment characteristics with the goal of nudging underperforming retailers and rewarding excelling retailers towards customers’ full benefit redemption and program cost control.
- Pelletier, J.E., Schreiber, L.R., and Laska, M.N., 2017. Minimum stocking requirements for retailers in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for women, infants, and children: Disparities across US states. American Journal of Public Health, (0), pp.e1-e4.
This article highlights the varying WIC stocking requirements across states, providing benchmarks that can inform efforts to increase availability of healthier foods in the retail setting.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Office of Policy Support, 2017. National- and state-level estimates of Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) eligibles and program reach in 2014, and updated estimates for 2005–2013, by Paul Johnson, David Betson, Lorraine Blatt, and Linda Giannarelli. Project Officer: Grant Lovellette. Alexandria, VA.
The most recent in a series of reports, this report provides national and state estimates of the number of people eligible for WIC benefits and the percent of the eligible population covered by the program. For the first time, state-level estimates of coverage rates by subgroup for all subgroups including children by single year of age are presented, as well as national-level estimates by race and ethnicity.
- Zimmer, M.C. and Vernarelli, J.A., 2017. WIC Works! Positive Influence of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) on Diet Quality in Low Income Children. The FASEB Journal, 31(1 Supplement), pp.lb461-lb461.
Building on previous research on WIC participation and purchasing patterns, this article analyzes NHANES data to compare consumption of children living in WIC households to income-eligible non-participants.
- Briefel, R., Washburn, L., Gothro, A., Cole, N., Sinclair, M., Harvey, B., Niland, K., and Keshaviah, A., 2017. Evaluation of the pilot project for canned, frozen, or dried fruits and vegetables in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP-CFD) Volume I: Report. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service.
The evaluation of the pilot expansion of FFVP, the program that provides free fresh fruit and vegetable snacks to low-income elementary schools, to include canned, frozen, and dried fruits and vegetables, including impact on student consumption, program participation, implementation strategies, and stakeholder perspective.
- Cullen, K.W. and Dave, J.M., 2017. The new federal school nutrition standards and meal patterns: Early evidence examining the influence on student dietary behavior and the school food environment. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 117(2), pp.185-191
This article reviews five studies that analyze the impact of 2012 changes in federal requirements for meal components and nutrients in school lunches and suggests future research directions.
- Ralston, K., Treen, K., Coleman-Jensen, A., and Guthrie, J., 2017. Children’s food security and USDA child nutrition programs, EIB-174, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
This report provides statistics on food insecurity amongst school-aged children, as well as an overview on recent research and developments around child nutrition programs and children’s food insecurity.