Resource | Research | Food/Nutrient Analysis
Nutrient and Food Group Analysis of USDA Foods in Five of its Food and Nutrition Programs - 2014

This study updates a 2009 analysis of the nutrient and food group content of the USDA Foods offered and delivered through Federal nutrition assistance programs. It examines the Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP), the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) in fiscal year (FY) 2014 and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) in school year (SY) 2013-2014. The study also estimated the Healthy Eating Index (HEI) scores under the HEI-2010 and the HEI-2005 scoring systems for each program’s benefits.

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 | 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.

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 | Food/Nutrient Analysis
Estimated Retail Value of the Average FDPIR Food Package as Delivered in Fiscal Year 2009

This report estimates the retail value of the average Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) food package delivered to FDPIR participants in fiscal year (FY) 2009. The estimated retail value
of the average FDPIR food package as delivered in FY 2009 was $78.44 per month per FDPIR participant. The report’s retail price estimate probably understates the true retail value of the FDPIR food package
because the cost of food from retailers located on or near Indian reservations is likely above national average retail food costs. The average SNAP benefit per person in FY 2009 was $125.31 per month.

Resource | Research | Promoting Healthy Eating
FDPIR Food Package Nutritional Quality: Report to Congress

This report, required under the 2008 Farm Bill, reviews the nutritional quality of the food package provided through USDA’s Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), comparing its content to scientific standards including the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs), the Thrifty Food Plan nutrient standards and the Healthy Eating Index-2005. The FDPIR food package provides a nutritious variety of foods, and sufficient calories to meet the energy needs of most sedentary individuals and many moderately active children. While, similar to American diets in general, there is room for improvement in the quantities of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products and whole grains, the nutritional content of the package is considerable. Individuals consuming FDPIR foods in the quantities provided would achieve a HEI-2005 score of 81 out of 100, considerably better than Americans in general (58 out of 100) and SNAP participants (52 out of 100). The efforts of the FDPIR Food Package Review Work Group, a partnership between FNS and the American Indian community to improve the food package, have contributed to the package’s quality.

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

A key objective of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) is to ensure that children have access to healthy, well-balanced meals. The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of USDA sponsored the third SNDA study to provide up-to-date information on the school meal programs, the school environment that affects the programs, the nutrient content of school meals, and the contributions of school meals to students’ diets. Data were collected from a nationally representative sample of districts, schools, and students in school year (SY) 2004-2005. The nutrient content of school meals offered and served was compared to USDA’s current regulatory standards. Students’ diets were assessed using the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs), the most up-to-date scientific standards for assessing dietary status.

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 | Assessing/Improving Operations
School Meals Initiative Implementation Study: Third Year Report

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP) are key components of a national policy designed to safeguard and promote the nutritional well-being of the Nation’s children. The programs are administered by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), operating through state agencies (SAs) that have agreements with the local school systems in their States. Despite the progress that has been achieved over the years in enhancing the quality of school meals, results of research conducted in the early 1990s indicated that school meals, on balance, were failing to meet certain key nutritional goals. In light of these findings, the USDA launched a far-reaching reform of the school meals programs, a reform aimed at upgrading the nutritional content of school meals. The reform began in late 1993 with public hearings followed by a proposed rule in 1994 and a final rule in 1995. The several elements of this reform are collectively referred to as the School Meals Initiative for Healthy Children (SMI). The status of this initiative, together with an examination of selected operational issues of these programs, are the principal subjects of this report.

Resource | Research | Food/Nutrient Analysis
Availability of Fresh Produce In Nutrition Assistance Programs

Fruit and vegetable consumption is an important component of a balanced diet consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Food Guide Pyramid. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) promotes the increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, in all forms – fresh, frozen, canned, dried and juices, through its nutrition assistance programs.