Food and Nutrition
When food insecurity or insufficient knowledge about healthy eating threaten Americans’ health, Westat’s pioneering methodology supports our clients’ nutrition assistance programs, ensuring individuals’ access to affordable, nutritious food; consumption of healthier diets; and receipt of entitled benefits without compromising effective public fund management.
Ensuring consistent and equitable access to healthy, safe, and affordable foods is critical to the health and well-being of Americans. Westat’s food and nutrition research studies provide the evidence base for the nation’s nutrition assistance programs and policies to effectively serve those in need while ensuring the proper stewardship of tax dollars. Our staff specialize in program evaluation, data collection, statistical analysis, and program support for federal, state, and local partners.
Westat is a pioneer in dietary assessment methodology and develops innovative methods for collecting, coding, and analyzing food and nutrient data. We have expertise in household food purchases, 24-hour dietary intakes, and foods and meals provided through nutrition assistance programs. Our research has examined the role of nutrition assistance programs in participants’ diets and whether the programs help Americans consume healthier diets. Our staff also work with USDA partners to develop novel food and nutrient databases that can be used to evaluate what foods Americans purchase and consume.
Westat conducts research to assess whether children and low-income families have access to food and a healthful diet and the role of nutrition assistance programs in reducing food insecurity. Our research also examines innovative strategies to improve access to affordable, healthy foods and ultimately reduce hunger.
Program Operations and Integrity
Westat’s work provides insight on the operations and characteristics of nutrition assistance programs and their participants to inform policy decisions and resources, training, and technical assistance to support effective program administration. Many of our projects help ensure individuals receive the benefits they are entitled to and federal and state agencies administering the programs are effective stewards of public funds.
Meet the Team
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)What’s the best way to collect data on food a household acquires?
Deep Dive with Our Experts
Issue BriefYoung Children’s Consumption of 100% Fruit Juice by Racial-Ethnic Characteristics of Their Mothers
Congress authorized the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) as a pilot program in 1972 and made WIC permanent in 1974.…
Expert InterviewWIC Participation and Children’s Health Outcomes
An alarming number of children from low-income households are at risk of harmful health outcomes associated with a poor diet. Chronic diseases like obesity and…
Expert InterviewProgram Integrity: Efficiently Collecting Data on Meals Programs
Increasing food security and reducing hunger among low-income children and adults is the mission of the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). To support this mission,…