The RIDGE Center for Targeted Studies @ the SRDC, in partnership with the Economic Research Service, is pleased to announce the 2013 slate of two doctoral dissertation grantees and four regular competitive grants program recipients. These innovative social sciences-based research projects exploring the food and nutrition assistance challenges facing key populations in rural America are slated to be completed fall 2014.
Knowing how often and how long households are food insecure is important for understanding the extent and character of food insecurity and for maximizing the effectiveness of programs aimed at alleviating it. Food-insecure households are those that are unable at times during the year to acquire adequate food because they lack sufficient money and other resources. From 2008 to 2011, the percentage of households experiencing this condition remained between 14.5 percent and 14.9 percent. But, were these mostly the same households year after year? Or, was food insecurity usually a transient condition?
The Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) invites applications from U.S.-based food assistance scholars to visit the IRP RIDGE Center for National Food and Nutrition Assistance Research for one week during the 2013–2014 academic year, interact with its faculty in residence, and become acquainted with the staff and resources of the Institute. Application deadline is June 28, 2013.
Amber Waves magazine covers the economics of food, farming, natural resources, and rural America. Published by the Economic Research Service (ERS), the March 2013 issue includes articles on food access, farm income, U.S. pork production, and crop rotation.
Prior research has shown that food insecurity is more common among U.S households with an adult who has a work-limiting disability than among other households. To provide more detail on the prevalence of food insecurity by a range of types of disabilities, Alisha Coleman Jensen and Mark Nord analyzed data from the Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement (2009 and 2010). They focused on two groups of households that include adults with disabilities: (1) households with a working-age adult with a disability that prevented work (not in labor force-disabled); and (2) those with a working-age adult with a specified disability (hearing, vision, mental, physical, self-care, or going-outside-home disability) and no indication that their disability prevented them from working (other reported disabilities). Food insecurity was most prevalent among households with an adult who was not in labor force-disabled (33.5 percent), followed by those with a working-age adult with other reported disabilities (24.8 percent). Households with no working-age adult with a disability had a much lower prevalence of food insecurity (12.0 percent). Close to two in five households with very low food security included an adult with a disability. The study findings demonstrate the importance of disabilities as a determinant of food insecurity.
The statistical measures used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture since 1995 to monitor the food security of the Nation's households — the extent to which they can consistently acquire adequate food for active healthy living-are based on a single-parameter logistic latent-trait measurement model (the Rasch model). A panel convened, at USDA's request, by the Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) of the National Academies in 2003-06 recommended that USDA explore five potential technical enhancements to that model. USDA has adopted one CNSTAT panel recommendation, which corrects the methods used to model the frequency-of-occurrence followup questions in the food security scale. This study examines the implications of that change and assesses the other four potential enhancements and the extent to which they would affect USDA's published food security statistics. The study findings suggest that introducing the more complex statistical models would improve measurement of food security little, if at all, while making results and methods more difficult to explain to policy officials and the public.
Researchers at Southern Oregon University and Oregon State University Extension Service are investigating the role of school environment in contributing to obesity rates. Research conducted from the study has found that overweight students tend to perform below average in math, science, and reading. Future research from the project seeks to address nutrition and physical activity within the school environment in rural areas of the Western United States.