Resource | Research | Food/Nutrient Analysis
School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study IV

This report summarizes findings from the fourth School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study (SNDA-IV), which collected data from nationally representative samples of school districts and schools in school year (SY) 2009-10. As in prior studies, the nutrient content of the average meals offered and served in the Nation’s schools was compared with regulatory standards in effect at the time—the School Meal Initiative (SMI) nutrition standards—as well as selected recommendations included in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In January 2012, USDA issued new standards for school meals to be phased in over 3 years beginning in SY 2012-13. The data reported here thus serve as a marker of progress in achieving the SMI standards, and a baseline for measuring future improvements under the new standards. The study also collected information about the availability of competitive foods—foods sold in competition to USDA school meals through a la carte sales in cafeterias, vending machines, school stores, and other venues. Finally, the study collected data from a sample of elementary schools participating in the HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) and compared them to elementary schools nationwide.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Evaluation of the Summer Food Service Program Enhancement Demonstrations: 2011 Demonstration Evaluation Report

The 2010 Agricultural, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations Act enabled the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to initiate and carry out the Summer Food for Children demonstration projects, aimed at preventing food insecurity and hunger among children during summer months. The projects include the Enhanced Summer Food Service Program or “eSFSP” demonstrations, which test the impact of a number of enhancements to the existing Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The eSFSP demonstrations include four separate initiatives, two of which began in summer 2010 with the other two launching in summer 2011. This report presents exploratory findings from the evaluation of four types of demonstrations in eight States: The Extending Length of Operation Incentive demonstration (2010-2011) in Arkansas; The Activity Incentive demonstration (2010-2011) in Mississippi; The Meal Delivery demonstration (2011-2012) in Delaware, Massachusetts, and New York; and The Backpack demonstration (2011-2012) in Arizona, Kansas, and Ohio.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Evaluation of the Impact of Enhancement Demonstrations on Participation in the SFSP: FY 2011

This report examines administrative data obtained from the eight States that operated the 2011 eSFSP demonstrations to assess changes within demonstration sites compared to non-demonstration sites. Outcomes include the total number of meals served, the days of operation, and the total number of children served (as measured by average daily attendance or ADA). The influence of the 2011 demonstrations on food consumption and food security, as well as analyses of the implementation and costs of the demonstrations, are examined in a separate report.

Resource | Research | Participation Rates
Reaching Those in Need: State Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Participation Rates in 2010

This report – the latest in an annual series – presents estimates of the percentage of eligible persons, by State, who participated in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) during an average month in fiscal year 2010 and in the 2 previous fiscal years. This report also presents estimates of State participation rates for eligible “working poor” individuals (persons in households with earnings) over the same period. Although SNAP provides an important support for working families, the working poor has participated at rates that are substantially below those for all eligible persons.

Resource | Research | Participation Rates
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Participation Rates: Fiscal Year 2010

This report is the latest in a series on SNAP participation rates. Estimates are based on the March 2011 Current Population Survey and program administrative data for Fiscal Year (FY) 2010. The findings represent participation rates for FY 2010.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Building a Healthy America: A Profile of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

As the time for reauthorization of SNAP again approaches, it is useful to take stock of its accomplishments, identify those features that have contributed to its success, and look for new opportunities to strengthen operations to achieve program goals more fully. To that end, this is a summary of past research on program operations and outcomes.

Resource | Research | Promoting Healthy Eating
Characteristics and Dietary Patterns of Healthy and Less-Healthy Eaters in the Low-Income Population

The diets of most Americans fall short of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This exploratory analysis examines dietary patterns of low-income individuals classified as healthy and less healthy eaters based on their score on the Healthy Eating Index (HEI)-2005. The HEI-2005 is a 100-point score that measures how well populations adhere to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. For this analysis, individuals with HEI-2005 scores of 70 or higher are defined as healthy eaters (scored by top 10 percent of the general population). Individuals with scores below 49 (scored by half of the general population) are defined as less healthy eaters.

Resource | Research | Breastfeeding
Evaluation of the Birth Month Breastfeeding Changes to the WIC Food Packages

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) has been providing nutritious foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and health referral services to low-income mothers and their children for over 30 years. In 2006 the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to review the WIC food packages. The IOM proposed major changes to improve nutrition and encourage breastfeeding but also expressed the concern that changes related to partial breastfeeding may have unintended consequences. The IOM recommended that FNS conduct an impact study evaluating the birth month breastfeeding changes to the WIC food packages. This study responds to that recommendation.

Resource | Research | Food/Nutrient Analysis
Nutrient and MyPyramid Analysis of USDA Foods in Five of Its Food and Nutrition Programs

Through its food distribution programs, USDA purchases a variety of food including fruits, vegetables, meat, grains, and dairy products for distribution directly to needy households or for use in congregate feeding programs that help Americans obtain access to nutritious food and support American agriculture. These USDA Foods are distributed to help supplement the diets of: children participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), women, infants, children, and elderly participating in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), low-income Native Americans participating in the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), and needy individuals seeking assistance from food pantries and soup kitchens and participating in The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). This report contains nutrient and food group analyses of the USDA Foods distributed through the NSLP, CACFP, CSFP, FDPIR, and TEFAP in Fiscal Year (FY) 2009.