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Peer Review

As required under the Office of Management and Budget's "Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review," released Dec. 16, 2004, the Food and Nutrition Service reviews its study and evaluation plans to determine whether any projects currently planned or underway meet the Bulletin's standards for "highly influential scientific assessments" or "influential scientific information."

The agency has concluded from its most recent review that is not currently preparing or sponsoring any "highly influential scientific assessments." Seven current projects are expected to yield "influential scientific information." Peer review plans for these projects are linked below:

Title: 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.

Title: Food Security Status and Well-Being of Nutrition Assistance Program Participants in Puerto Rico

This study will collect data on levels of household food security, health status, and well-being in the general population, and among NAP participants and low-income residents without such additional benefits and establish baseline contextual data on the system-wide factors that frame food security, health status, and well-being in Puerto Rico. This study will be complemented with in-depth interviews to understand better the household context of food security, health, and well-being for Puerto Rican residents following the advent of Hurricane Maria and other recent disasters, as well as the factors that contributed to their vulnerability and resiliency to catastrophic events.

Title: 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.

Title: 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.

Title: School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study-2

This comprehensive study, the next in a series, will examine the following: 1) food pattern and nutritional quality of the meals offered and purchased at school; 2) plate waste; 3) the school nutrition environment; 4) school food service operations; 5) cost to produce school meals, as well as 6) student participation; 7) characteristics of the school lunch and breakfast programs; and 8) satisfaction and attitudes regarding the school lunch and breakfast programs. Information on dietary intake and body mass index will be collected from a subsample of students. Primary data collection will occur by school year (SY) 2019-20 and will provide new information on implementation of the 2012 updated school meals nutrition standards, first assessed in SNMCS-1 during SY 2014-15. The study will include estimates of the cost to prepare school meals for the non-contiguous portions of the United States.

Title: Study of Nutrition and Wellness Quality in Child Care Settings-2

The first study on Nutrition and Wellness Quality in Child Care Settings (SNACS) was awarded in 2015 to 1) assess nutrition and wellness policies/practices and meal quality for infants and children in Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP) child care settings; 2) describe food and nutrient intakes of infants and children in CACFP child care centers and outside of child care; 3) determine the meal costs and revenues in CACFP child care centers; and 4) describe and assess plate waste in CACFP child care centers. Data were collected before implementation of the updated CACFP meal standards. This project proposes an update of SNACS and the first data collection after implementation of the new nutrition standards for CACFP. Data collection would occur in school year (SY) 2021-22.

Title: 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.

Completed Peer Review Plans and Reports
Contact Information

Melissa Abelev, FNS Peer Review Official
Acting Deputy Administrator for Policy Support
1320 Braddock Place
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (703) 305-2017
Email: Melissa.Abelev@usda.gov

Additional Links
04/05/2022