Nationwide Food Consumption Survey

CED-77-56: Published: Mar 25, 1977. Publicly Released: Mar 25, 1977.

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The Nationwide Food Consumption Survey which the Department of Agriculture (USDA) began in April, 1977, was reviewed in order to determine what types of analyses can be done with the data, what planning changes have occurred since survey conception in 1974, and whether it will yield accurate information on the diet of low-income families and of overall food consumption in the United States. The sample will be of 15,000 households, with 5,000 low-income households, almost half of whom participate in the food stamp program.

The survey sample is too small to provide useful information in evaluating food assistance programs and in identifying nutritional problems of low-income families. Additional low-income families should be sampled to provide this information. The survey methodology has not been fully validated, and the results will be open to criticism. There are no assurances that the data obtained will actually measure the amount of food consumed.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: USDA should fully validate the Nationwide Food Consumption Survey methodology either before or during the survey and develop objectives and analysis plans for the survey before the sample is drawn.

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