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.

  1. With NCCOR’s guidance and support from the Center for Training and Research Translation, FNS assembled a portfolio of existing, evidence-based, and actionable tools consistent with the context and policies of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and incorporating evidence-based obesity strategies in March 2013. The toolkit has gone through two iterations since; an edition with 30 more resources was published in May 2014. The SNAP-Ed Strategies and Interventions: An Obesity Prevention Toolkit for States offers state SNAP agencies potential interventions ready for implementation at the state level.
  2. The Healthy Incentives Pilot (HIP) was an exploratory initiative to determine if financial incentives provided at point-of-sale increase consumption of fruits and vegetables. Its final report, released in fall 2014, provides valuable information about ways that financial incentives and SNAP can promote healthy eating.
  3. An review is underway examining food packages in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). An IOM expert panel will recommend changes to USDA/FNS that would align the food packages with the most current nutrition science. The Phase I report is expected in 2015 and the Phase II report is expected in late 2016/early 2017.
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