Finding Next Meal: A Research Based Cost/Benefit Analysis of Nutrition Related Programs in the United States

Author(s)

Margaret Battisti

Faculty Mentor(s)

Yvonne Chueh (Actuarial Science)

Abstract

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found, in a survey based study, that 88% of adults in the United States do not meet the required daily intake of fruits and 91% do not meet the required daily intake of vegetables. Missing out on substantial daily consumption of fruits and vegetables can increase risk for and exacerbate chronic diseases including diabetes and heart disease. Maintaining a nutritious diet has numerous benefits; however many Americans are simply unable to afford it. The Feeding America organization predicted that, due to economic and employment changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 35 million people in the United States (US) could be food insecure right now. Feeding America defines food insecure as households that either had to change the variety and appeal of their diets while maintaining the amount consumed or households where at least one member had to significantly change their eating patterns and/or decrease their food consumption due to lack of resources. In the United States there are many nutrition related programs with themes ranging from access to nutritious food, food purchase assistance, and food provided through education. Utilizing information gathered from federal departments and offices and supplemented by other credible sources when necessary, selected programs will be analyzed for their benefits to Americans and their monetary cost per capita to draw a final conclusion regarding what types of programs are the most nutritionally beneficial and the cost per capita of funding.

Key Words: Nutrition, Low-Income, Cost

Presentation

3 thoughts on “Finding Next Meal: A Research Based Cost/Benefit Analysis of Nutrition Related Programs in the United States”

  1. Jean Marie Linhart

    Can you comment on how the calculations you did represent a cost-benefit analysis of these programs given that two cost per beneficiary numbers can’t be compared directly nor can two cost per capita numbers?

  2. Jean Marie Linhart

    Good job, Margaret. How do the calculations you did represent a cost-benefit analysis of these programs given that two cost per beneficiary numbers can’t be compared directly nor can two cost per capita numbers?

    1. Margaret Battisti

      Hi Jean,
      Thank you for the question. Upon reflection of my presentation, I do see than perhaps “cost-benefit” analysis is slightly a misnomer for the research that I actually did. A more fitting title would perhaps have specified “monetary cost, nutritional benefit” analysis. The further I got into the research the more I realized how different each of the programs were and therefore would be to compare against each other. As my research stands at this point, the information I collected does not work effectively for comparing the programs to each other, but instead shows a picture overall of the benefits and costs of nutrition programs in the United States. That is to say, rather than comparing the programs to each other it analyzes the work being done and at what cost by the federal government to support the nutrition of low-income individuals in the United States. If you have interest in a more in depth and descriptive version of my research and analysis, please feel free to email me at battistim@cwu.edu and I will be happy to share my report. Thank you again for the question!

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