Project: Modifying Effects of Participation in Food Assistance Programs on the Obesity, Health, and Well-Being of Adults
Award Year: 2003
Amount of award, fiscal 2003: $67,431.00
Institution: University of Tennessee
Principal Investigator: Sonya Jones
Status: Completed
Detailed Objective: Developing a better understanding of how food security and participation in food assistance programs affect client's well-being is an important research objective within the Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program. However, research in this area has been difficult because most national data sets that contain information on food assistance program participation and measures of well-being have been cross-sectional, limiting the ability to explore causal relationships. This study will make use of a longitudinal data set, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to examine, in a sample of adult men and women, the causal direction of any relationship between food insecurity, obesity, and other measures of health status and well-being; and test for the modifying effect of household participation in TANF, the Food Stamp Program, and WIC.

Structural equation modeling will be used to examine the role of selection effects and examine ecological covariates that may confound the relationships among food insecurity, program participation, and outcomes. In particular, State- and county-level variables will be used to examine the influence of community-level characteristics on hypothesized relations among food security, food program participation, and measures of health and well-being. The results of this study will provide insights into the effectiveness of food assistance programs and provide useful information to policy makers and program managers.

Topic: Food Security, Nutrition-Related Health Outcomes, Obesity
Jones, S., and E. Frongillo. "The Modifying Effects of Food Stamp Program Participation on the Relation between Food Insecurity and Weight Change in Women," The Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 136, Issue 4, April 2006.