The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is creating a $2 million research center to study how the government can “nudge” Americans toward making healthier eating habits.
The agency is currently accepting grant applications to establish a “Center for Behavioral Economics and Healthy Food Choice Research,” which will facilitate studies such as how breaking up combo meals at fast food restaurants would influence customers.
“The USDA Center will facilitate new and innovative research on the application of behavioral economics theory to healthy food choice behaviors that would contribute to enhancing the nutrition, food security, and health of American consumers,” the USDA’s grant announcement said.
The center will be given at least $1.9 million over three years, with the possibility of future funding. Its research will focus on “facilitating food choice behaviors” and improving the diets of Americans enrolled on food stamps and the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program.
The USDA said it is their responsibility to attempt to alter the food choices of Americans since 25 percent receive food aid from government programs.