Resource | Research | Impacts/Evaluations
The Evaluation of Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives Interim Report

The Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant program provided $100 million to fund and evaluate projects that were intended to increase fruit and vegetable purchases among Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants by providing incentives at the point of purchase. Grants were awarded in Fiscal Years (FYs) 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 to State and local governmental entities and nonprofit organizations. An independent evaluation measured the impact of FINI on two primary outcomes, increasing fruit and vegetable (1) expenditures and (2) consumption among SNAP households, and on several secondary outcomes. The pilot projects are not included in the evaluation. This report presents the results of the process evaluation and outcome evaluation through September 2017.

Resource | Research | Impacts/Evaluations
Healthy Incentives Pilot Final Evaluation Report

The Healthy Incentives Pilot (HIP) tested a way of making fruits and vegetables more affordable for participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assis­tance Program (SNAP). Under HIP, SNAP partici­pants received a financial incentive for purchasing fruits and vegetables. The HIP evaluation used a random assignment research design. Specifically, 7,500 Hampden County SNAP households were randomly selected to partic­ipate in HIP, while the remaining 47,595 households continued to receive SNAP benefits as usual. The final evaluation report presents findings on the impacts of HIP on fruit and vegetable consumption and spending, the processes involved in implementation and operating HIP, impacts on stakeholders, and the costs associated with the pilot.

Resource | Research | Promoting Healthy Eating
Approaches for Promoting Healthy Food Purchases by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Participants

This study developed innovative approaches to using nutrition labeling systems to incentivize healthy food choices by SNAP participants in retail settings. The approaches consider opportunities for using Front of Package and shelf labeling systems across all food categories and retail settings.

Resource | Research | Demonstrations
Healthy Incentives Pilot (HIP) Interim Report

The Healthy Incentive Pilot (HIP) is being evaluated using a rigorous research design. Of the SNAP households in Hampden County, 7,500 were randomly assigned to the HIP group and the remaining households to the non-HIP group. The overall goal of the evaluation is to assess the impact of HIP on participants’ intake of fruits and vegetables. The Interim report provides early estimates of fruit and vegetable consumption among participants and other early pilot impacts four to six months after implementation. This report is based on participant surveys conducted just before and 4 to 6 months after implementation. The surveys include 24-hour dietary recalls in addition to information about attitudes and preferences for fruits and vegetables and shopping patterns. Analyses of participant spending and incentive earnings are presented based on EBT transactions data for the first 6 months of the pilot.

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 | Food Security
Hunger and Obesity - Understanding a Food Insecurity Paradigm

The Workshop on Understanding the Relationship Between Food Insecurity and Obesity, held in Washington, DC, from November 16 to 18, 2010, was designed to provide an opportunity to explore and illuminate the relationship between food insecurity and obesity, the current state of research, and data and analyses needed to advance understanding of the relationship as a way of countering both hunger and obesity in the United States. This is the workshop summary of the National Academies Institute of Medicine (IOM), Food and Nutrition Board, which was commissioned by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service. The workshop summary is available here by permission. It may also be obtained through the Institute of Medicine website.

Resource | Research | Promoting Healthy Eating
Food Expenditures and Diet Quality Among Low-Income Household and Individuals

The purpose of this study is to identify whether spending more money on food leads Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other low-income households to purchase and consume more nutritious foods. Specifically, the study analyzed the percentage and absolute change in diet-quality measures that are associated with a 10-percent increase in food expenditures for SNAP participants and income-eligible nonparticipants (i.e., with incomes under 130 percent of poverty). The study also seeks to identify other factors or household characteristics that may affect this relationship.

Resource | Research | Promoting Healthy Eating
Diet Quality of Americans by Food Stamp Participation Status: Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999-2004

Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 1999-2004) provide a comprehensive picture of the nutrient intakes, diet quality, and food choices of Food Stamp Program (FSP) participants. Data are presented for FSP participants, income-eligible nonparticipants, and higher income non-participants, broken out by age and gender. In general, there are more similarities than differences across the three groups. Where differences occur, they tend to fall along income lines: Food Stamp participants and low income nonparticipants differed more from higher income individuals than each other.

Resource | Research | Promoting Healthy Eating
Implications of Restricting the Use of Food Stamp Benefits

By most standards, almost all American diets are in need of improvement, and obesity has emerged as the Nation’s most pressing health and nutrition issue. Because of concerns about poor diet, overweight, and obesity among low-income Americans, there is considerable interest in using Federal nutrition assistance programs to promote healthy choices. Some argue that food stamp recipients should be prohibited from using their benefits to buy foods with limited nutritional value (commonly described as “junk” foods). The Food Stamp Act currently places few limits on the use of food stamp benefits, as long as they are used to buy food to eat at home. The idea of restricting the use of food stamp benefits may be appealing on its face. However, upon closer examination, serious concerns emerge regarding the feasibility and rationale for the proposed restriction.