Resource | Fact Sheets | Food Security
Office of Community Food Systems Fact Sheet - Food Safety Modernization Act: Questions and Answers

The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 allows the Food and Drug Administration to better protect the public health by strengthening the food system from Farm to Table.  This document addresses common questions regarding the impact of the Act on school gardens and other similar small producers commonly used as sources for local food.

Resource | Research | Demonstrations
Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children (SEBTC) Demonstration: Evaluation Findings for the Third Implementation Year: 2013 Final Report

The Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children (SEBTC) demonstration uses the SNAP and WIC EBT systems to deliver benefits to children during summer months. The evaluation examined the impact of a $30 per child per month benefit on child, adult and household food security relative to a $60 monthly benefit. It found that the $30 benefit was as effective in reducing the most severe category of food insecurity among children during the summer as the $60 benefit. However, the $30 benefit was only about half as effective as the $60 benefit at reducing the less severe but more prevalent food security among children. Results were similar across SNAP and WIC sites.

Resource | Research | Food/Nutrient Analysis
Evaluation of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program: Interim Report

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) aims to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among students in the Nation’s poorest elementary schools by providing free fresh fruits and vegetables to students outside of regular school meals. FFVP began as a pilot program in 2002 and was converted into a nationwide program in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, also known as the Farm Bill (PL 110-234). The results presented in this interim report, for the 2010-2011 school year, focus on the total quantity of fruits and vegetables consumed and total energy intake (also referred to as total caloric intake), allowing the assessment of whether any additional fruit and vegetable consumption was in addition to or in place of other foods consumed.

Resource | Research | Promoting Healthy Eating
Diet Quality of American School-Age Children by School Lunch Participation Status: Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

This report uses data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 1999-2004) to provide a current and comprehensive picture of the diets of school-aged children. Data are presented for children who participated and did not participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). For comparison purposes, results are provided for low-income children and higher income children for both participants and nonparticipants.

Resource | Research | Food Security
Obesity, Poverty, and Participation in Nutrition Assistance Programs

The national nutrition safety net consists of 15 programs that provide millions of low-income Americans access to a healthy and nutritious diet. It has been observed that many low-income individuals are both overweight and participants in one or more nutrition assistance programs. This has led some to question whether participation in the nutrition assistance programs contributes to the growing problem of overweight and obesity. This report presents the conclusions of an expert panel convened by the Food and Nutrition Service to determine if there is scientific evidence of a relationship between program participation and excess weight.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Measuring Competitive Foods in Schools

There has been growing concern about the sale in schools of foods with limited nutritional value. Of particular concern is the availability to school children of “competitive foods,” a term that includes a wide range of foods that do not qualify as reimbursable meals under the National School Lunch Program or the School Breakfast Program. Such foods can often be obtained from a la carte cafeteria sales, vending machines, and
school stores. While the widespread availability of competitive foods is well documented (Wechsler et al, 2001), there is relatively little detailed data on the amounts of various types of competitive foods that are sold in schools or about their nutrient content. Such information is needed to estimate the full prevalence of competitive food sales and to determine the types of changes and approaches needed to facilitate change. This “briefing report” summarizes research recently undertaken for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service to develop a methodological basis for obtaining detailed information on the competitive foods sold in schools.

Resource | Research | Nutrition Education and Promotion
Environmental Scan and Audience Analysis for Phase II of Eat Smart. Play Hard.

The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) launched the Eat Smart. Play Hard. campaign to promote the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) healthy eating and physical activity messages to children ages 2–18 and their caregivers. This campaign is an FNS agency-wide initiative and represents the latest effort by FNS to meet its strategic goal of improving the nutrition of children and low-income adults while at the same time addressing the major public health issue of the increasing prevalence of obesity among our Nation’s youth. The FNS nutrition assistance programs have a potential reach of more than 48.2 million children. Delivery of the Eat Smart. Play Hard. messages across these programs has the potential to impact eating and physical activity behaviors in a positive way.

Resource | Research | Food/Nutrient Analysis
School Lunch Salad Bars

This report fulfills a request to the Department of Agriculture (USDA) from the Appropriations Committee Directives, Fiscal Year 2002. As requested, this report compares the availability of fruits and vegetables in schools with and without salad bars using data from the School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study, Part II (SNDA-II), which were collected during the School Year (SY) 1998-99. SNDA-II data enables us to examine the choice and variety of foods offered at salad bars, but not the quantity in a typical serving or the amount consumed.

Resource | Research | Nutrition Education and Promotion
Nutrition Education in FNS: A Coordinated Approach for Promoting Healthy Behaviors

This report fulfills the request from Congress in the House Appropriations Committee Report (House Report 107-116), which accompanied the Agriculture Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2002. The conference report included the following statement: “The nutritional status of our young people is a matter of public health. The Committee expects the Department to build upon work already done with the food pyramid, and other innovative national and local efforts. Nutrition information should be carefully reviewed so that a consistent and coordinated message is disseminated. Existing opportunities to convey nutrition messages, including newsletters, static displays in cafeterias, in-school and cable television productions should be used to the maximum extent possible. The committee directs the Department to provide a report regarding the development and implementation of this effort by February 1, 2002."

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

This report summarizes findings of the second School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study (SNDA-II). The study provides up-to-date information on the nutritional quality of meals served in public schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP). The last nationally representative study of the NSLP and SBP, SNDA-I, was completed in school year (SY) 1991-92. SNDA-I confirmed that school meals met a variety of important nutrition goals. However, the study also found that school lunches were not consistent with Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations for total fat and saturated fat intake. At the time, school food service programs were not required to offer meals that were consistent with the Dietary Guidelines.