Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
WIC Participant and Program Characteristics 2006

The WIC Participant and Program Characteristics (PC2006) report summarizes demographic characteristics of WIC participants nationwide in April 2006, along with information on participant income and nutrition risk characteristics. A national estimate of breastfeeding initiation for WIC infants is included. The report also describes WIC members of migrant farm-worker families.

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 | Payment Accuracy and Program Integrity
NSLP/SBP Access, Participation, Eligibility, and Certification Study – Erroneous Payments in the NSLP and SBP

Program errors and the risk of erroneous payments in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) continue to be a concern. Slightly more than one in five students were certified inaccurately or erroneously denied benefits in school year (SY) 2005-06. New data estimates the gross cost of school meals erroneous payments due to certification error at about $935 million while other operational errors represent about $860 million. Most of the payment errors resulted from (1) household misreporting of income, (2) administrative errors by school districts in processing applications, and (3) errors by cashiers in counting reimbursable meals. The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) will use this new information to continue the extensive work underway, and step up its commitment to work with Congress and program partners to address these erroneous payments. Actions to reduce these errors must improve accuracy without compromising access for low-income families, must not unduly increase burden on schools, and must be cost-effective.

Resource | Research | Participation Rates
Dynamics of Food Stamp Program Participation, 2001-2003

This report provides a comprehensive picture of individuals’ patterns of participation in the Food Stamp Program (FSP) during 2001-2003, a period of steady caseload growth. Based on data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), the research explores reasons that individuals enter and leave the FSP, how long they stay on the program, whether they return to the program after exiting, and what factors distinguish those who make greater use of the FSP than others. The research also examines whether participation patterns in 2001-2003 changed from patterns in the 1990s.

Resource | Research, Analysis & Background
Survey of the Public Health Nutrition Workforce: 2006-07

Report. Survey of the Public Health Nutrition Workforce: 2006-07

Resource | Research | Study & Evaluation Plan
Study and Evaluation Plan (2007)

The Food and Nutrition Service conducts a variety of studies, evaluations, and related activities that respond to the needs of policy makers and managers and help ensure that nutrition assistance programs achieve their goals effectively. These plans provide short descriptions of projects that have been or will be funded in each fiscal year.

Resource | Research | Participation Rates
Reaching Those in Need: State Food Stamp Participation Rates in 2005

his report – the latest in an annual series – presents estimates of the percentage of eligible persons, by State, who participated in the Food Stamp Program (FSP) in an average month in fiscal year 2005 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 the FSP provides an important support for working families, the working poor have participated at rates that are substantially below those for all eligible persons. The addition of State-by-State information on participation among the working poor enables a comparison of these rates to the overall participation rates. Nationally, the participation rate among all eligible persons was 65 percent in fiscal year 2005. The participation rate for eligible working poor individuals was 57 percent, a significant difference of 8 percentage points.

Resource | Research | Participation Characteristics
Characteristics of Food Stamp Households: Fiscal Year 2006

On average, about 26.7 million people living in 11.7 million households received food stamps in the United States each month in fiscal year 2006. Food stamp households are a diverse group. Because food stamp benefits are available to most low-income households with few resources, regardless of age, disability status, or family structure, recipients represent a broad cross-section of the Nation's poor. This report provides information about the demographic and economic circumstances of food stamp households in fiscal year 2006. The report draws on data for households participating in the Food Stamp Program under normal rules and thus does not include information about those who received disaster assistance after the Gulf Coast hurricanes in September and October 2005. Annual quality control data used to produce this report can be found using the link below.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Direct Verification Pilot Study: First Year Report

On an average school day, the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) provides subsidized meals to approximately 30 million school children, including 18 million low-income children. To ensure program integrity, school districts must select a sample of household applications for free or reduced-price meals, contact the households, and verify eligibility. This process (known as household verification) can be burdensome for both school officials and households. Some households do not respond to verification requests. When this happens, children may lose the free or reduced-price benefits even though they may be eligible for those benefits. Direct verification uses information collected by means-tested programs to verify eligibility for free and reduced-price meals without contacting applicants. Potential benefits of direct verification include: enhanced program integrity, less burden for households when no contact is needed, less work for school district officials, and fewer students with school meal benefits terminated because of non-response to verification requests. The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-265) permits direct verification of school meal applications and requires the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of direct verification (instead of household verification) by school district.

Resource | Research, Analysis & Background | Promoting Healthy Eating
Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior - MyPyramid Food Intake Pattern Modeling for the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

Modeling analyses using the MyPyramid intake patterns were conducted in collaboration with the 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee in response to their research questions and to determine likely effects of possible recommendations on overall dietary adequacy.