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U.S. Food and Nutrition Programs

U.S. Food and Nutrition Programs

(p.199) 4 U.S. Food and Nutrition Programs
Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States
Janet Currie
University of Chicago Press

The U.S. government operates a wide variety of food and nutrition programs (FANPs), which reach an estimated one out of every five Americans every day. Most FANPs were developed with the primary goal of assuring adequate nutrient intakes in populations deemed to be at risk of undernutrition. A secondary goal of many FANPs is to improve the nutritional choices of recipients through nutrition education. This chapter focuses on the three largest programs: The Food Stamp Program, The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, and the National School Lunch Program. It is organized as follows. Section 4.2 provides a brief overview of the history, rules, and program statistics of these three programs. Sections 4.3–4.7 offer an evaluation of the evidence from these three programs regarding the overall effectiveness of FANPs; factors affecting take-up; the efficacy of in-kind versus cash programs; work disincentives created by the programs; and the role of nutrition education as compared to simple changes in budget constraints. Section 4.8 concludes with a discussion of current policy issues and suggestions for future research.

Keywords:   FANP, means-tested programs, Food Stamp Program, Supplemental Nutrition Program, School Lunch Program

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