One presentation, by Jay Bhattacharya, gave two alternatives for how the data infrastructure could be improved. Overlapping datasets could be developed, none of which cover everybody or everything. Different surveys could be aimed at different populations, such as the poor or food stamp recipients. Or a comprehensive data collection effort could be undertaken that would include a health assessment module that is collected frequently, oversamples needy populations, includes economic data, and includes a household food expenditure model. Many participants expressed concern about the discontinuation of the CSFII—the loss of the 5,000-person sample and the loss of diet and health knowledge questions and questions on food expenditures.
The Panel on Enhancing the Data Infrastructure in Support of Food and Nutrition Programs, Research, and Decision Making considered each of these topics and others for its final report. The panel considered priority areas for new questions to surveys such as the NHANES that could fill gaps in knowledge about how people make food consumption and expenditure decisions. It also considered how alternative data sources, such as those from proprietary firms, could be used to fill gaps.