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Research & Analysis

Current Data Collections

This page provides a list of all studies currently, or soon to be, collecting data. For completed studies and their results, please visit Research and Analysis. For study related questions, please contact us at FNSstudies@usda.gov.

Child Nutrition Studies
Summer EBT (2019-2022)

Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) for Children Evaluation
Anticipated Data Collection Year: 2022
Contractor: Abt Associates

The Summer EBT for Children demonstrations were authorized and funded by Congress in 2010 as a complement to traditional summer meal programs. A rigorous evaluation showed that Summer EBT substantially reduced food insecurity among children and increased the consumption of healthy foods. This study will continue to examine benefit use (participation, redemption) and provide an examination of the start-up challenges and costs experienced by these grantees, as well as those that have expanded to additional areas.

School Meals Operations Study

Anticipated Data Collection Year: Ongoing, started in 2021
Contractor: Mathematica

The School Meals Operations (SMO) Study is designed to collect timely data on policy, administrative, and operational issues in the school-based Child Nutrition Programs, which contributes to budget preparation, development and implementation of program policy and regulations, and identification of areas for technical assistance and training.

School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study II (SNMCS II)

Anticipated Data Collection Year: Started in 2020 and anticipate restarting in 2023.
Contractor: Mathematica

This comprehensive study, the next in a series, will examine the following: 1) food pattern and nutritional quality of the meals offered and purchased at school; 2) plate waste; 3) the school nutrition environment; 4) school food service operations; 5) cost to produce school meals, as well as 6) student participation; 7) characteristics of the school lunch and breakfast programs; and 8) satisfaction and attitudes regarding the school lunch and breakfast programs. Information on dietary intake and body mass index will be collected from a subsample of students. Primary data collection will occur by school year (SY) 2019-2020 and will provide new information on implementation of the 2012 updated school meals nutrition standards, first assessed in SNMCS-1 during SY 2014-2015. The study will include estimates of the cost to prepare school meals for the non-contiguous portions of the United States.

Team Nutrition Training Grant E-STAR Evaluation

Evaluation of the Child Nutrition Special Grants
Anticipated Data Collection Year: 2020-2023
Contractor: Abt Associates

The authorizing legislation for the child nutrition programs provides funding for a number of different grants intended to stimulate program improvement. This includes Team Nutrition Grants, Administrative Reviews and Training Grants, Direct Certification Improvement Grants, Equipment Purchase Grants, and Farm to School Grants. This project will independently evaluate the impacts of these grants on their intended outcomes, to inform decision making on how they are designed. As part of the project, it will frame revisions to grant requirements to improve grantee reporting and participation in the evaluation.


WIC Studies
WIC Feeding My Baby Study

WIC Infant and Toddler Feeding Practices II
Anticipated Data Collection Year: 2013-2023
Contractor: Westat

The “Feeding My Baby Study,” a longitudinal study that began data collection in fall 2013, provides a rare opportunity to examine critical policy questions about WIC and its participants. The data collection currently follows a national sample of children who began WIC participation at birth, including those who left the program, and collects 24-hour dietary recalls and data on feeding practices. The Feeding My Baby Study is currently following children through the age of 9 years, and the 9-year follow-up data collection is slated to occur in 2022-2023.

WIC Cash Value Benefit (CVB) Redemption Study

Redemption of WIC Cash Value Voucher/Cash Value Benefit (CVV/CVB)
Anticipated Data Collection Year: 2022
Contractor: Insight Policy Research

In 2009, the WIC program introduced CVV/CVB for the purchase of fruits and vegetables for participating women and children. Despite the popularity of this added benefit provided as part of the revised WIC food package, it has been underutilized. A study conducted in 3 states showed that while 73% of CVV/CVB benefits were redeemed, only about 37% were fully redeemed (Phillips, Bell, Morgan, and Pooler, 2014). In 2021, Congress approved several provisions allowing USDA to temporarily increase the CVV/B amounts for certain food packages. These increased CVB amounts may reduce barriers to full utilization of the benefit. The temporary CVB increase offers a unique opportunity to test whether CVB redemption rates changed after implementation and whether certain State policy and participant-level factors impacted these rate changes. This study will identify factors associated with the under redemption of WIC CVV/CVB and possible solutions for improving redemption and utilization rates. Findings will enhance guidance to states on increasing utilization of the benefits.

WIC Nutrition Assessment and Tailoring Study (WIC NATS)

Process and Use of WIC Nutrition Risk Assessment
Anticipated Data Collection Year: 2021-2022
Contractor: Westat

Women and children enrolling in WIC undergo a nutrition risk assessment that includes the collection of dietary, anthropometric, and health information. The goal of the assessment is to identify nutritional risks and enhance the service and support provided by WIC in order to improve the health and development of program participants. This project will use qualitative and quantitative methods to examine how local WIC agencies use nutrition risk assessment information to deliver program benefits, including the tailoring of food packages and nutrition education, and how the process used is associated with dietary and health outcomes, the clinic experience, and retention in WIC. Data will be collected on nutrition assessments that occur in-person at a WIC clinic and those that happen remotely (e.g., by telephone). The findings of this study will be used to develop guidance for WIC staff to enhance service delivery that improves program retention and the nutrition and health of women and children who participate in WIC. Study data will also allow for comparisons between in-person and remote WIC nutrition services.

WIC Participant and Program Characteristics 2022

Anticipated Data Collection Year: 2022
Contractor: Insight Policy Research

Since 1988, FNS has produced biennial reports on WIC participant and program characteristics (PC). The WIC Participant and Program Characteristics Study 2022 (WIC PC22) will summarize demographic, income, and health-related characteristics and behaviors of all WIC participants in the 89 State agencies enrolled as of April of 2022 as well as the benefits they receive through WIC. WIC PC findings are used to estimate budgets, submit civil rights reporting, and identify research needs. Two reports will be published from the study: the WIC Participant and Program Characteristics 2020 Report and the 2022 Food Packages and Costs Report. 


Other FNS Studies
FDPIR Quick Response Survey (QRS)

Barriers for the underserved in accessing the FDPIR program 
Anticipated Data Collection Year: 2022
Contractor: Ken Consulting 

In 2020, Congress directed USDA to conduct a study on the challenges that the FDPIR program and other USDA food distribution programs face in reaching underserved populations, with an emphasis on the homebound and elderly. This study will conduct a Quick Response Survey (QRS) of FDPIR program operators to better understand challenges in reaching underserved individuals who are eligible for FDPIR, strategies and flexibilities employed by agencies in reaching the underserved, and recommendations for program improvement. Findings from this study will be summarized in a brief for Congress.

01/20/2022