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Reach of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program–Education (SNAP–Ed) Interventions and Nutrition and Physical Activity-Related Outcomes, California

2015 | Preventing Chronic Disease

 

Introduction
This study combined information on the interventions of the US Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program–Education with 5,927 interview responses from the California Health Interview Survey to investigate associations between levels of intervention reach in low-income census tracts in California and self-reported physical activity and consumption of fruits and vegetables, fast food, and sugar-sweetened beverages.

 

Methods
We determined 4 levels of intervention reach (low reach, moderate reach, high reach, and no intervention) across 1,273 program-eligible census tracts from data on actual and eligible number of intervention participants. The locations of California Health Interview Survey respondents were geocoded and linked with program data. Regression analyses included measures for sex, age, race/ethnicity, and education.

 

Results
Adults and children from high-reach census tracts reported eating more fruits and vegetables than adults and children from no-intervention census tracts. Adults from census tracts with low, moderate, or high levels of reach reported eating fast food less often than adults from no-intervention census tracts. Teenagers from low-reach census tracts reported more physical activity than teenagers in no-intervention census tracts.

 

Conclusion
The greatest concentration of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program–Education interventions was associated with adults and children eating more fruits and vegetables and adults eating fast food less frequently. These findings demonstrate the potential impact of such interventions as implemented by numerous organizations with diverse populations; these interventions can play an important role in addressing the obesity epidemic in the United States. Limitations of this study include the absence of measures of exposure to the intervention at the individual level and low statistical power for the teenager sample.