Nutrition and Physical Activity

Delivering Healthier Options to North Carolina’s Rural Food Deserts

In 2015, the North Carolina legislature passed “The Healthy Food Small Retailer Program” (HFSRP), allocating $750,000 over three years to small food retailers located in USDA-defined food deserts. These funds could be used to purchase and install refrigeration equipment, display shelving, and other equipment necessary for stocking nutrient-dense foods, including fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, lean meats, and seafood.

Commentary

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who tuned in to some Thanksgiving TV programming last week, you probably caught at least a few pharmaceutical ads for drugs to help manage diabetes and its side effects.

Commentary

Studying the effect of SNAP requires both high-quality data on household food purchases or diet, and a valid strategy for separating the effect of SNAP from other influences on household spending that may be related to participation in the program. To try to circumvent some of these challenges, we have obtained and analyzed large-scale retail data that follows grocery store shoppers over nearly seven years.

The Effect of SNAP on the Composition of Purchased Foods: Evidence and Implications

Researchers at Brown University released a working paper analyzing the effects of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on nutritional quality of purchased foods. Examining seven years of transaction records at a large U.S. grocery chain, the team found that SNAP participation had only a small effect on the nutritional quality of purchased foods.

Pay to Play? State Laws Related to High School Sports Participation Fees

Budget cuts have forced many school districts to prioritize school programs, and extracurricular activities such as sports are often viewed as less essential than academics. Yet rather than reducing or eliminating sports programs altogether, some districts are electing to transfer some of the costs of sports participation to student athletes and their families. This opens the door to wide variation of fees and processes, and may contribute to inequities in sports participation for low-income students already at higher-risk for poorer health outcomes.

How WIC Authorization Influences Sales of Healthy Food and Beverages in Discount Variety Stores

In response to research on food deserts across the country, scholars and public health practitioners are encouraging limited service food stores, like discount stores, to expand their healthy food selections and accept SNAP and WIC benefits. By becoming WIC-authorized, these stores would be required to carry a certain number of healthy food items, which can improve food access in low-income communities that may lack a full-line grocery store.

Cross-post

Students attending two-year colleges are more likely to be food insecure than other adults, particularly during economic recessions. Though we don’t identify the underlying causes of this trend, the high levels of food insecurity among two-year students should push policymakers to reexamine how the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) and other supportive services can best assist these students.