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Completed Peer Review Plans and Reports

Resource type
Research and Data
Research Plans
Research Reports
Research type
Study & Evaluation Plan
Resource Materials

Child Nutrition Programs

USDA Summer Meals Study

The USDA Summer Meals Study (formerly the Summer Food Service Program Participant Characteristics and Meal Analysis of Quality Study) is designed to provide a comprehensive, up-to-date understanding of sponsor, site, and household-level participation in the Summer Food Service Program and the National School Lunch Program’s Seamless Summer Option. Unique to this study is the household level data on why families do or do not participate in summer meal programs and their satisfaction with the programs. The study will also provide nationally representative data on the motivators and barriers to preparing and serving summer meals; meal service characteristics; the nutritional quality of meals offered; and reasons for discontinuing program participation among former sponsors. This is the first national study to simultaneously examine the facilitators and barriers to program participation among caregivers of participants and nonparticipants, as well as examine site and sponsor characteristics and meal quality, shedding light on how program characteristics impact participation and household satisfaction with the program.

Study of Nutrition and Activity in Childcare Settings in USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program

Required by Section 223 of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (PL 111-296), the study is a national study of child care centers and family or group day care homes that includes an assessment of (1) the nutritional quality of all foods provided to children in child care settings as compared to the recommendations in most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans, (2) the quantity and type of opportunities for physical activity provided to children in child care settings; (3) the quantity of time spent by children in child care settings in sedentary activities; and (4) an assessment of barriers and facilitators to nutritional and wellness quality. In addition, the study will subsample providers participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program so all analyses can be conducted separately for CACFP. The CACFP-focused analysis will also provide a cost analysis to determine the cost of providing meals and snacks in CACFP.

Farm to School Census Report

Farm to School programs aim to strengthen knowledge about agriculture, food, nutrition, and the environment; increase children’s consumption of fruits and vegetables; increase opportunities for farmers and other food producers; and support economic development. This census study will provide information on the magnitude of local sourcing procurement and the prevalence of other farm to school activities.

School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study

This study examines the relationships between school environment and school food service operations, nutritional quality of meals offered and served in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program, costs to produce reimbursable meals, and student participation, participant characteristics, satisfaction and related attitudes toward the school lunch and breakfast programs.

Summer EBT for Children Comprehensive Final Report

Authorized under the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (PL 111-8), the Summer EBT for Children (SEBTC) demonstrations rigorously test and evaluate the extent to which the use of electronic benefits technologies can be used to reduce food insecurity among children eligible for assistance through the FNS National School Lunch and Summer Food Service Programs. During the summer, when school is not in session, only about fifteen percent of eligible children are reached by these feeding programs. SEBTC is intended to bridge this gap.

School Nutrition Dietary Assessment IV

Updates information on three areas of interest to policy makers: (1) characteristics of the school environment and school food service operations; (2) nutritional quality of meals offered and served in the school meal programs, and of foods sold in competition with school meals; and (3) student participation, participant characteristics, satisfaction, and related attitudes toward the school lunch and breakfast program.

Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) Evaluation

Assesses the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, expanded across the nation by the FCEA, to determine whether children (a) experienced, as a result of participating in the program, increased consumption of fruits and vegetables and (b) made other dietary changes, such as decreased consumption of less nutritious foods.

School Nutrition Dietary Assessment III

As part of the agency's periodic assessment of the nutritional effects of school meals, this study will update information on five areas of interest to policy makers: (1) characteristics of the school environment and school food service operations; (2) nutritional quality of meals offered and served in the school meal programs; (3) student participation, participant characteristics, satisfaction, and related attitudes toward the school lunch and breakfast program; and (4) student dietary intakes and the contribution of school meals to these dietary intakes.


Evaluation of SNAP Employment and Training (E&T) Pilots

The Agriculture Act of 2014 (PL 113-79, Section 4022) authorized USDA to enter into cooperative agreements with state agencies to carry out pilot projects designed to raise employment, increase earnings, and reduce reliance on public assistance, including the benefits provided by SNAP. This study is an independent evaluation of these projects designed to determine differences in employment, earnings, and public assistance expenditures between those who receive the pilot services offered and a control group that does not receive such services, in order to identify the most effective interventions for wider implementation.

Healthy Incentive Pilots (HIP)

The Food Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 authorized USDA to carry out pilot projects to develop, test and evaluate methods of using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to improve the dietary and health status of households eligible for or participating in SNAP. Specifically, it provides $20 million to test the effects of providing financial incentives at the point-of-purchase to encourage SNAP households to purchase fruits, vegetables or other healthful foods.

The Healthy Incentive Pilot includes a rigorous evaluation, supported by a technical working group (TWG) to provide external advice and input on the evaluation research design, early results, the final report, and to provide other consultation services as needed. The TWG includes five outside experts in relevant areas of research and subject matter experts from other federal government agencies.


WIC Cost Containment Study

This study will examine methods used by states to contain costs and their relative effectiveness. There have been major changes to the program since the last comprehensive study on this topic was published in 2003. These include substantial revisions to food packages, expansion of EBT, and improvements in vendor management such as use of peer groups. This study will provide a national picture of the use of various cost containment practices; help identify advanced approaches to develop competitive price and reimbursement rules that could be adopted by states; and examine their possible impact on program cost, food instrument redemption rates, and variety of foods selected by participants. Results would be used to identify and disseminate best practices to move states to improve performance.

National Survey of WIC Participants-III

This periodic study is the major source of information on a number of important program issues, including the program’s rate of certification error and the percent of WIC participants receiving other program benefits. There have been significant program changes since the last data collection, including changes in the food packages, an increased reliance on EBT, and availability of the option for 12-month child certification. This project will update the study design, data collection instruments, and report elements based on stakeholder input, field the data collection, and analyze the data to meet the broadest range of WIC information needs.

Birth Month Breastfeeding Changes to the WIC Food Package

Assesses the effect of birth month changes in breastfeeding practices resulting from the changes to the provision of infant formula made as part of the update to the WIC food package.

Process and Use of the WIC Nutrition Risk Assessment and Tailoring Study

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 to 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. 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.

WIC Infant and Toddler Feeding Practices Study-2 Interim and Final Reports

A national, longitudinal data collection regarding contemporary WIC infant and toddler feeding practices, including the duration of breastfeeding, the age and pattern of introduction of foods other than breast milk or formula, and the age of introduction of cow’s milk. The study is examining the influences that shape a mother’s infant and toddler feeding decisions and describing the changes in feeding practices as the children develop. This study also collects information on nutrition education, breastfeeding promotion, and support provided to participants.


Joseph Clift, FNS Peer Review Official
Assistant Deputy Administrator for Policy Support
1320 Braddock Place
Alexandria, VA 22314

Page updated: July 10, 2024