Research & Publications | Healthy Eating Research

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Implementing SNAP During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Perspectives from the National Network of State SNAP Administrators

SNAP was a critical component of the COVID-19 pandemic response. The beginning of the pandemic saw the largest increase in applications in the program’s history, and the pandemic fundamentally altered how SNAP agencies deliver benefits, interact with participants, and provide supportive services. The goal of this research was to examine SNAP implementation during the first More

Date: September 2022

Resource Type: Research Brief

Focus Areas: Nutrition Policy & Programs

Pandemic-EBT and Grab-and-Go School Meals: Costs, reach, and benefits of two approaches to feeding children during school closures — Lessons from COVID-19 responses

COVID-related school closures across the United States in spring 2020 disrupted the school meal programs that provide critical access to healthy food for millions of children — including children in elementary and middle school and adolescents in high school — from households with low incomes, leading to increased food insecurity. The United States Department of More

Date: August 2022

Resource Type: Research Brief

Focus Areas: School & After School

Kid Influencer Marketing: Gaps in Current Policies and Research

Most food advertisements that children see are for unhealthy foods and beverages. Paying “influencers”—online celebrities with large social media fan bases—to endorse or promote products on their social media accounts is a relatively new tool that companies use to market their products. Engaging kid influencers has the added bonus of reaching younger audiences. Kids may More

Date: March 2022

Resource Type: Research Brief

Focus Areas: Food Marketing

Recognizing and Supporting School Meal Programs as a Critical Nutrition Safety Net: Lessons from COVID-19

School closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic significantly disrupted children’s access to school meals in 2020 and 2021. School food service authorities (SFAs), which are responsible for planning, sourcing, preparing, and serving school meals, had to rapidly convert their usual on-site meal service operations to more flexible and mobile strategies to distribute meals to students More

Date: January 2022

Resource Type: Research Brief

Focus Areas: Nutrition Policy & Programs School & After School

Federal Nutrition Programs During the COVID-19 Pandemic: SNAP

The COVID-19 pandemic presented new challenges and exacerbated existing barriers faced by SNAP participants and administrators, such as inequitable access to SNAP online purchasing, overburdened administrative staff and agency systems, and low digital literacy and technology deficits. In response, SNAP online purchasing increased rapidly by March 2021, and program flexibilities and waivers allowed states to More

Date: January 2022

Resource Type: Research Brief

Focus Areas: Nutrition Policy & Programs

Federal Nutrition Programs During the COVID-19 Pandemic: WIC

In response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act authorized USDA to approve waivers, requested by WIC state agencies and Tribal Nations, which would ensure WIC benefit access for families already participating in the program, as well as newly eligible families. These waivers and flexibilities provided researchers a More

Date: December 2021

Resource Type: Research Brief

Focus Areas: Nutrition Policy & Programs

USDA Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Vendor Criteria

This brief provides the results of an analysis of WIC vendor selection and authorization criteria, and operations and management policies established by the 89 administrative agencies in the United States. This study is the first to compile and examine a database of WIC vendor selection and authorization criteria, and operations and management policies established by More

Date: December 2021

Resource Type: Research Brief

Focus Areas: Nutrition Policy & Programs

Promising and Low-Cost Strategies to Improve School Meal Consumption

The aim of this research brief is to highlight and summarize the evidence of promising, low-maintenance, and low-cost strategies that can be implemented by school districts to increase the consumption of healthy school meals. All of these strategies have been associated with meaningful improvements in meal consumption and require minimal funding and technical support, making More

Date: October 2021

Resource Type: Research Brief

Focus Areas: School & After School

Promoting Equitable Expansion of the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot

The USDA Online Purchasing Pilot, which allows SNAP participants to shop and pay for groceries online, rapidly expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic. From March 2020 to March 2021, the number of participating states increased from 5 to 47. This brief assesses whether the Pilot promotes healthy food access (using the criteria of availability and utilization) More

Date: July 2021

Resource Type: Research Brief

Focus Areas: Food Access Nutrition Policy & Programs

Acceptability, Preference, and No-Show Rates for In-Person and Phone-Based Consultations at Nine WIC Centers in New York City Before and During COVID-19

Access to WIC benefits typically requires an in-person visit to a WIC center, however this became a challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic due to recommendations for social distancing to minimize and prevent the spread of the virus. As a result, in-person requirements were removed for all visits, except first time enrollment visits, and participants were More

Date: July 2021

Resource Type: Research Brief

Focus Areas: Nutrition Policy & Programs