RIDGE Center

SRDC releases latest RIDGE Food Assistance and Nutrition Information Series brief

Meeting basic food needs was a struggle last year for more than one in five American households with children, including 22 percent of households outside metropolitan areas and 23 percent of households in the South. Parents in these food-insecure situations strive to shelter their children from hardship. But do they?

A new brief, based on the research of Maryah Stella Fram, Edward Frongillo and Sonya Jones, University of South Carolina, explores how children and teens experience the fallout from thin budgets and bare cupboards.

Read new brief, Including Children's Views Can Enhance Our Understanding of Food Insecurity.

RIDGE Center for Targeted Studies @ the SRDC – 2011 Research Grant Opportunities

The RIDGE Center for Targeted Studies @ the SRDC, in partnership with USDA Economic Research Service, is pleased to announce the availability of TWO competitive grant programs for 2011.

This exciting new program is intended to support research (in the U.S.) by graduate students pursuing doctoral research in areas that closely align with the priorities of the RIDGE Center for Targeted Studies. Students currently enrolled in a PhD program from an accredited U.S. institution of higher education are eligible to apply for the RIDGE Center Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant Program. However, an applicant must have completed all formal work related to his/her area of study and be at the "All But Dissertation" (ABD) stage of the doctoral program. The document above provides detailed information on the procedures for applying for this valuable new RIDGE Center activity.

As in past years, the SRDC RIDGE Center is seeking to invest in innovative social sciences-based research that explores the dimensions of the food and nutrition assistance challenges impacting residents (or communities) in rural America, including key populations such as Native Americans, immigrants, other racial/ethnic minorities, single parents, youth, the persistently poor, and others. For 2011, the RIDGE Center for Targeted Studies is interested in proposals that focus on one, or a combination, of the following three regions of the U.S. – North Central, Southern and Western regions of the country. For more information on this year's research priorities and details of the application process, please check out the document above:

Want to Learn More about These Grant Opportunities?
Take Part in Our Upcoming Webinars

We encourage you to participate in one of the upcoming webinars being hosted by the RIDGE Center in March. The webinars are intended to showcase this year's competitive grant program and respond to questions that potential applicants might have about the two 2011 RIDGE Center for Targeted Studies competitive grant programs. The live webinars are scheduled on the following dates:

  • March 15th – 1:00 p.m. Eastern / 12 Noon Central / 11 a.m. Mountain / 10 a.m. Pacific
  • March 23rd – 1:00 p.m. Eastern / 12 Noon Central / 11 a.m. Mountain / 10 a.m. Pacific

Persons wishing to participate in the RIDGE webinar are encouraged to access the following website approximately 20-30 minutes prior to the start of the webinar to ensure that they are able to successful connect to the Adobe Connect webinar site.


In addition, participants are asked to call the toll free number just prior to the start of the webinar in order to hear the audio portion of the RIDGE Center presentation. The number will be posted on the Adobe Connect site. Both webinars will cover the same content.

Federal Food Policy and Childhood Obesity selected as the 2nd most influential research paper.

At the end of every year, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation looks back at the last 12 months of published peer-reviewed research articles. Each of these articles had a major impact on research or influence in the field. They select 20 articles for nomination and ask their website visitors to select the top 5 as RWJF's Most Influential Research Articles.

This year selected as one of the top 5 articles was Federal Food Assistance Programs: Part of the Childhood Obesity Problem or Solution? by Rachel Tolbert Kimbro and Elizabeth Rigby.

For more information you can view the final report, executive summary, or published report.

ERS has just released Household Food Security in the United States, 2009

Household Food Security in the United States, 2009
By Mark Nord, Alisha Coleman-Jensen, Margaret Andrews, and Steven Carlson Economic Research Report No. (ERR-108) 68 pp, November 2010

Eighty-five percent of American households were food secure throughout the entire year in 2009, meaning that they had access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. The remaining households (14.7 percent) were food insecure at least some time during the year, including 5.7 percent with very low food security. In households with very low food security, the food intake of one or more household members was reduced and their eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year because the household lacked money and other resources for food. Prevalence rates of food insecurity and very low food security were essentially unchanged from 14.6 percent and 5.7 percent, respectively, in 2008, and remained at the highest recordedlevels since 1995, when the first national food security survey was conducted. The typical food-secure household spent 33 percent more on food than the typical food-insecure household of the same size and household composition. Fifty-seven percent of all food-insecure households participated in one or more of the three largest Federal food and nutrition assistance programs during the month prior to the 2009 survey.

The report is available at: http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/err108
Overview statistics and graphics are at http://www.ers.usda.gov/briefing/foodsecurity/stats_graphs.htm
Public-use data will be available from the Census Bureau on Dataferrettand on CD-ROM later today. For information on data access, go to http://www.ers.usda.gov/data/foodsecurity/cps

Characteristics of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Households: Fiscal Year 2009.

Joshua Leftin, Andrew Gothro, and Esa Eslami, October 2010.

This report provides information on the demographic and economic characteristics of SNAP households in fiscal year 2009. The average monthly number of participants reached a record high of 32.9 million. Nearly h! alf of recipients were children, another 8 percent were over age 60, about 40 percent lived in households with earnings, the majority of households did not receive cash welfare benefits, and the average monthly benefit was $272.

Cost of living may impact childhood obesity for recipients of federal food programs

Amid growing concern over childhood obesity, policymakers have begun to wonder what role federal food programs can play in combatting obesity in children. Approximately one-third of U.S. children are overweight and 16 percent are obese. Low-income children are at particular risk, as income has long been associated with obesity. In the new RIDGE Food Assistance and Nutrition Information Series brief, researchers Elizabeth Rigby, The George Washington University, and Rachel Tolbert Kimbro, Rice University, discuss the impact of cost of living on childhood obesity. They find in cities where food is more expensive, federal food assistance programs, in particular the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, may be contributing to early childhood obesity, while in low-cost cities, they may be deterring it. Access this report and others in the Food Assistance and Nutrition Information Series at http://srdc.msstate.edu/ridge/foodassistance.html.

View the brief

2010 food assistance and nutrition research grant recipients announced

September 20, 2010

The RIDGE Center for Targeted Studies @ the SRDC is pleased to announce the 2010 recipients of its new competitive grants program in partnership with the Economic Research Service, USDA. The RIDGE (Research Innovation and Development Grants in Economics) program is designed to invest in timely social science-based research that can advance understanding of the myriad of food assistance and nutrition challenges impacting rural people and places in rural America. The list below details the awarded projects and researchers:

Food Stamp Program and Food Insecurity Dynamics in the Rural South

Principal Investigator:
Bradford F. Mills, Virginia Tech University

Elton Mykerezi, University of Minnesota

Abstract: (view)

Direct and Comprehensive Measure of Child Food Security: Reliability, Accuracy, and Concordance with Parental Report

Principal Investigator:
Maryah Stella Fram, University of South Carolina

Edward A. Frongillo, Jr., University of South Carolina
Sonya J. Jones, University of South Carolina
Christine E. Blake, University of South Carolina

Abstract: (view)

The Influence of Community Retail Food Environment on Household Food Access, Food Choice, and Dietary Intake of Mexican American Children of Colonias along the South Texas Border with Mexico

Principal Investigator:
Joseph R. Sharkey, Texas A&M Health Science Center

Wesley R. Dean, Texas A&M Health Science Center

Abstract: (view)

Does Prenatal WIC Affect Birth Outcomes and School Performance? Examining the Consequences of a Dip in WIC Participation

Principal Investigator:
Sarah Hamersma, University of Florida and David Figlio, Northwestern University.

Abstract: (view)

RIDGE Center


The Economic Research Service provides Research Innovation and Development Grants in Economics to stimulate innovative research on food and nutrition assistance issues. The SRDC is one of two partnership institutions.