Nutrition policies govern many aspects of the food system impacting food choices and prices in outlets such as grocery stores, restaurants, and schools, thus affecting what we eat. Federal nutrition assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and the national school meal programs provide services to children and families with the goal to increase food security and reduce hunger. Research in this area includes evaluating the impacts of nutrition programs and policies on diet quality and overall health, as well as exploring innovative approaches to improve program reach, participation and implementation.

Research & Publications See all

January 2022

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

December 2021

Content Analysis of Online Grocery Retail Policies and Practices Affecting Healthy Food Access

This study aimed to describe policies and practices of online grocery retailers that may affect healthy food access, including retailers participating in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Online Purchasing Pilot. This was a cross-sectional, quantitative content analysis of 21 online grocery retail websites from November 2019 to January 2020. Most retailers More

December 2021

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

December 2021

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