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Archive for the ‘hunger and malnutrition’ Category

Policy Basics: Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children

May 4, 2015 Comments off

Policy Basics: Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children
Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, popularly known as WIC, provides nutritious foods, counseling on healthy eating, breastfeeding support, and health care referrals to more than 8 million low-income women, infants, and children at nutritional risk.

Infants and very young children can face lifelong cognitive and health consequences if they don’t get adequate nourishment. WIC aims to ensure that pregnant women get the foods they need to deliver healthy babies and that those babies are well-nourished as they grow into toddlers.

An extensive body of research over the last few decades shows that WIC works. WIC participation contributes to healthier births, more nutritious diets, improved infant feeding practices, less anemia, and more preventive health care.

Mathematica Conducts First Study of WIC Agencies’ Breastfeeding Policies and Practices

May 2, 2015 Comments off

Mathematica Conducts First Study of WIC Agencies’ Breastfeeding Policies and Practices
Source: Mathematica Policy Research

The psychological, economic, and overall health benefits of breastfeeding, for both infants and mothers, are well documented. However, many barriers to breastfeeding exist, including cultural norms, lack of family support, employment and lack of health services, particularly among disadvantaged and low-income populations. In an effort to overcome those barriers, breastfeeding promotion and support is a core component of the nutrition services provided by the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to low-income women and children up to five years of age.

A new In Focus and Research Recap video from Mathematica Policy Research’s WIC Breastfeeding Policy Inventory Study (WIC BPI) for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, shed light on the comprehensive range of policies and practices that WIC agencies use to promote breastfeeding. The first study to examine WIC agencies’ breastfeeding policies, the WIC BPI surveyed 90 state-level agencies and nearly 1,800 local WIC agencies.

Mathematica found the following:

+ Nearly 80 percent of local WIC agencies had at least one staff member with a breastfeeding credential.
+ Two-thirds of local WIC agencies operated a peer counseling program to provide breastfeeding support. Peer counseling has been shown to be one of the most successful approaches to encourage mothers to breastfeed.
+ Nearly all local agencies collected information about WIC participants’ breastfeeding initiation, duration, and exclusivity, but only about half collected information about intensity.

The WIC BPI lays the groundwork for future research on how agencies’ breastfeeding policies and practices evolve over time and which practices are associated with better breastfeeding rates for different populations. Helping the USDA understand WIC agencies’ currently breastfeeding measurement capabilities can contribute to the design of future breastfeeding reporting systems.

Fact Sheet: Hunger and mass incarceration

April 27, 2015 Comments off

Fact Sheet: Hunger and mass incarceration (PDF)
Source: Bread for the World Institute

People in prison are more likely to have struggled with hunger and poverty before entering prison. This puts them at high risk for returning to conditions of hunger and poverty after prison.

CRS — Domestic Food Assistance: Summary of Programs (February 4, 2015)

April 22, 2015 Comments off

Domestic Food Assistance: Summary of Programs (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via National Agricultural Law Center)

Over the years, Congress has authorized and the federal government has administered programs to provide food to the hungry and to other vulnerable populations in this country. This report offers a brief overview of hunger and food insecurity along with the related network of programs. The report is structured around three main tables that contain information about each program, including its authorizing language, administering agency, eligibility, services provided, participation data, and funding information. In between the tables, contextual information about this policy area and program administration is provided that may assist Congress in tracking developments in domestic food assistance. This report provides a bird’s-eye view of domestic food assistance and can be used both to learn about the details of individual programs as well as compare and contrast features across programs.

The Food Assistance Landscape: FY 2014 Annual Report

March 24, 2015 Comments off

The Food Assistance Landscape: FY 2014 Annual Report
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

In this report, the Economic Research Service (ERS) uses preliminary data from USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to examine trends in U.S. food and nutrition assistance programs through fiscal 2014 (October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2014) and ERS data to examine trends in the prevalence and severity of household food insecurity in the United States through 2013.

The Effects of Potential Cuts in SNAP Spending on Households With Different Amounts of Income

March 18, 2015 Comments off

The Effects of Potential Cuts in SNAP Spending on Households With Different Amounts of Income
Source: Congressional Budget Office

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps) provides benefits to low-income households to help them buy food. Total federal expenditures on SNAP amounted to $76 billion in fiscal year 2014. In an average month that year, 47 million people (or one in seven U.S. residents) received SNAP benefits.

Some policymakers have expressed a desire to scale back the program significantly to reduce federal spending. In this report, CBO examines several options for doing so and their effects on the benefits that would be received by households with different amounts of income.

Hunger by the numbers in the African-American community

February 25, 2015 Comments off

Hunger by the numbers in the African-American community (PDF)
Source: Bread for the World Institute

In the United States, over 42 million people identify as African-American or black—13.6 percent of the U.S. population. Last year, poverty and hunger declined for the first time since the start of the recession.

Last year’s decline in poverty and hunger mirrors the decrease in unemployment that also occurred. Bread for the World believes that the best pathway out of hunger and poverty is a good job. African-Americans continue to suffer from disproportionately higher unemployment rates than the general U.S. population as well as any other major group despite the economic gains of the past few years.

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