NCCOR Connect & Explore: SNAP-Ed Evaluation: A Two-Part Webinar Series

States and organizations are implementing comprehensive nutrition education and obesity prevention programs around the country as one approach to address the rise in childhood obesity. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 stipulates that changes in policies, systems, and environments (PSEs) are to be layered with direct nutrition education and social marketing to enable, promote, and support healthy behaviors among low-income people and their communities. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed), the nutrition education and obesity prevention arm of the SNAP, aims to increase the likelihood that SNAP-Ed eligible households will make healthy diet and physical activity choices within a limited budget.

To establish a mechanism to evaluate program effectiveness and report results to funders, NCCOR, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), the Association of SNAP Nutrition Education Administrators (ASNNA), and more than 28 states, contributed and developed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP‐Ed) Evaluation Framework: Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Prevention Indicators.

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USDA releases new guide for SNAP-Ed evaluation

Since 2012, NCCOR has worked with USDA to promote evidence-based and actionable tools consistent with the context and policies of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

SNAP-Education (SNAP-Ed), the nutrition education and obesity prevention arm of the SNAP, aims to increase the likelihood that SNAP-Ed eligible households will make healthy diet and physical activity choices within a limited budget. SNAP-Ed is central to USDA efforts to improve nutrition and prevent or reduce diet-related disease and obesity among SNAP recipients. As a result of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, changes in policies, systems, and environments (PSEs) were to be layered with direct nutrition education and marketing to enable, promote, and support healthy behaviors among low-income people and their communities.

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USDA releases updated SNAP-Ed Toolkit

The third edition of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) Toolkit includes more than 80 interventions and 20 resources categorized by target behavior, intervention or resource type, and setting.

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Call for Proposals on the Economics of Food Security, Nutrition, and Health

How do nutrition assistance programs, the location of stores and the types of food they sell, and other aspects of the built environment affect diet, nutrition, and food security? A new 2-year research initiative by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) will investigate these questions.

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USDA center releases behavioral economics grant and fellowship opportunities

Up to five grants of $50,000 and six fellowships with $15,000 in seed grant funding were announced by Duke University and the University of North Carolina (UNC), Chapel Hill U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Center for Behavioral Economics and Healthy Food Choice Research (BECR Center).

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Brief: How USDA’s research is making strides in healthy eating

Periodically, the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) will share examples of how members’ research is being applied for a variety of impacts. Today, our focus is on several U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) initiatives at the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). Here are three brief examples.

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NCCOR Connect & Explore Webinar on FoodAPS — You asked, USDA answered

On March 31, NCCOR’s Connect & Explore Webinar Series revealed insights from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (FoodAPS) and discussed new research opportunities made possible by the first-of-its-kind survey.

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USDA announces grants for childhood obesity prevention programs

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on March 26 the USDA awarded $9 million in grants to develop childhood obesity intervention programs through colleges and universities in 12 states and Puerto Rico. The grants are funded through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), the flagship competitive grant program authorized under the 2014 Farm Bill.

“One-third of the children in the United States are overweight or obese, making this issue one of the greatest health challenges facing our nation,” said Vilsack. “It is critical that we make the effort to help our children be healthy kids and develop into healthy adults,” said Vilsack. Continue reading

Connect & Explore: First Findings from USDA’s FoodAPS

NCCOR webinar reveals insights from Department of Ag’s FoodAPS data, as well as new research opportunities made possible by the first-of-its-kind survey

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (FoodAPS) is the first-ever nationally representative and comprehensive survey of American households’ food purchases and acquisitions. This robust and first-of-its-kind dataset enables scientists to conduct research studies that support the design and implementation of policies and regulations affecting America’s food and nutrition assistance programs.

The survey includes nationally representative data from nearly 5,000 households, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households, low-income households not participating in SNAP, and higher-income households. Continue reading

Few schools adhered to USDA nutrition standards before 2013

Nov. 17, 2014, Reuters

By Kathryn Doyle

Before the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) set strict standards for nutrition for federally reimbursable lunch programs, less than 2 percent of middle or high schools would have measured up.

The absence of certain standards was associated with youth obesity, according to a new study. Full implementation of the program, which should be happening now, may have a notable impact on adolescent health, though this study did not address implementation of the program, the authors write. Continue reading