Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education Impacts
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) includes a nutrition education and obesity prevention program called SNAP-Ed. SNAP-Ed provides nutrition lessons and information to SNAP participants to help them make healthier choices and get the most out of their SNAP benefits.
SNAP-Ed also works with organizations, coalitions, and task forces to change the food environment so that the healthy choice becomes the easier choice.
In FY 2018, the UMass Extension Nutrition Education Program (NEP), implementing SNAP-Ed partnered with 118 community agencies and organizations throughout Massachusetts. Through direct education, we reached a total of 70,208 SNAP-Ed participants.
SNAP-Ed nutrition education was delivered across the Commonwealth at:
- Adult education and job-training programs
- Community centers
- Child care and preschool programs
- Elderly service centers
- Family resource centers
- Food assistance sites, food banks, and food pantries
- Farmers' markets
- Head Start programs
- Public housing sites
- Public schools
- SNAP office sites
- Youth education and recreation sites
Using Effective Methods
- SNAP-Ed staff and educators work with local collaborators to design and implement programs that will meet local needs (including workshop series, single session workshops, displays, food/cooking demonstrations, posters, newsletters, and follow-up enrichment materials).
- SNAP-Ed provides newsletters and follow-up nutrition education materials to parents of participating youth to reinforce what their children have learned.
- SNAP-Ed provides follow-up materials for teachers, nurses, and food service staff in schools where SNAP-Ed educators conduct a series of lessons.
Changing Youth Behaviors
Youth program participation showed statistically significant behavior change.
- Youth (grades 3-8) ate more fruits and vegetables after completing a series of nutrition lessons.
- Youth (grades 3-5) were more physically active after completing a series of nutrition lessons.
- Youth (grades 6-8) were spending less time watching TV or movies, playing electronic games, or using the computer for something other than schoolwork after completing a series of nutrition lessons.