Nutrition Monitoring:

Establishing a Model Program

PEMD-95-19: Published: Jul 19, 1995. Publicly Released: Jul 19, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined a model nutrition monitoring system and potential approaches to incorporating it into the National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Program (NNMRRP).

GAO found that: (1) a model nutrition program would have a coordinated set of activities, provide data continuously, generate reliable subpopulation and small geographic area, and support state and local monitoring activities; (2) although NNMRRP has elements of a model program, other strategies may lead to improved nutrition monitoring capabilities; (3) alternate approaches to coordination may not provide any clear advantages to the current structure; (4) the current state-based surveillance systems cannot meet certain information needs; (5) alternative approaches to achieving a model program are to attach modules of nutrition-related questions to other ongoing surveys or to field a core set of questions continuously, supplemented periodically by questions of emerging interest; (6) current approaches to providing information on subpopulations and small geographic areas are to oversample selected groups as part of the national surveys and to collect data on specific high-risk groups through the surveillance systems, which could be complemented by special studies and indirect estimation; and (7) to support state and local monitoring activities, the Department of Health and Human Services provides technical and financial assistance for state-based surveillance systems, but community-based data collection might provide more relevant data to localities.

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