Evaluating the impact of six supplemental nutrition assistance program education interventions on children’s at-home diets
Williams, P., Cates, S., Blitstein, J., Hersey, J., Kosa, K., Long, V. A., ... Berman, D. (2015). Evaluating the impact of six supplemental nutrition assistance program education interventions on children’s at-home diets. Health Education and Behavior, 42(3), 329-338. DOI: 10.1177/1090198114558589
Background. Nutrition education in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) is designed to promote healthy eating behaviors in a low-income target population. Purpose. To evaluate the effectiveness of six SNAP-Ed interventions delivered in child care centers or elementary school settings in increasing participating children’s at-home fruit and vegetable (F/V) consumption by 0.3 cups per day and use of fat-free or low-fat milk instead of whole or reduced-fat milk during the prior week. Method. Clustered randomized or quasi-experimental clustered trials took place in child care centers or elementary schools between 2010 and 2012. Parents of children at intervention and control sites completed baseline and follow-up surveys about their child’s at home F/V consumption and other dietary behaviors. Results. One of the six interventions was successful in meeting the objective of increasing children’s F/V consumption by 0.3 cups per day. For three of the six interventions, there was a small but statistically significant increase in F/V consumption and/or use of low-fat or fat-free milk. Conclusion. Although not all interventions were effective, these findings suggest that it is possible for some SNAP-Ed interventions to improve dietary habits among low-income children among some families. The effective interventions appear to have benefited from implementation experience and sustained efforts at intervention refinement and improvement.