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Research

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.

 

General

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.

 

SNAP

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

The most recent in a series of annual reports providing demographic and economic characteristics of SNAP households.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

This report analyzes the economic theory of and evidence for various mechanisms (bonuses, rebates, and vouchers) of incentivizing fruit and vegetable purchases in SNAP.

 

WIC

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Child Nutrition

 

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.

 

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.

 

Additional Research