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Abstract

The Loss-Adjusted Food Availability (LAFA) data and the dietary intake surveys conducted by Federal agencies supply key data for monitoring Americans’ food and nutrient consumption. The LAFA data, compiled by USDA, Economic Research Service, provide estimates of the annual loss-adjusted availability for more than 200 food commodities dating back to 1970. The data are for the Nation as a whole but are not broken down by demographics or food source (grocery store, school, restaurant, fast food, community food programs, etc.). The dietary intake surveys—conducted by the USDA, Agricultural Research Service and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics—give detailed data on food and beverage intakes by demographics and food source. In this study, ERS researchers convert food and beverages reported in dietary intake surveys into commodities as reported in the LAFA data, use the converted data to estimate commodity consumption patterns, and then apply the estimated patterns to disaggregate the LAFA data for 1994-2008 by household income, age, gender, adult education, and race/ethnicity. More recent LAFA data are available, but we use the 1994-2008 LAFA data because the database to convert foods into commodities is currently available for 1994-2008 only.

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