Nutrition Monitoring:

Progress in Developing A Coordinated Program

PEMD-94-23: Published: May 27, 1994. Publicly Released: Jun 16, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the: (1) current monitoring activities and planning efforts for the National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Program (NNMRRP); (2) major findings of previous nutrition monitoring surveys; (3) Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) nutrition monitoring activities; and (4) statistical issues associated with the 1987 and 1988 Nationwide Food Consumption Survey (NFCS).

GAO found that: (1) although a considerable amount of information is provided by current federal nutrition monitoring activities, a well-integrated system for nutrition monitoring has not been implemented; (2) the agencies involved in nutrition monitoring have been criticized in the past for not coordinating their data collection activities; (3) there have been problems concerning the cost of redundant activities, the difficulty of comparing data across surveys, data quality, response rates, frequency of data collection, timeliness of reporting, and dissemination of nutrition monitoring information; (4) the NNMRRP 10-year comprehensive plan is ready to be implemented, but it lacks important features essential for maintaining, deleting, or adding new monitoring activities; (5) coordination between HHS and USDA has improved in recent years, with the establishment of better communication mechanisms to facilitate continued improvements; and (6) there is no way to truly test the accuracy of NFCS data.

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