An evaluation of the SNAP-Ed middle school curriculum

Joanna M Procopio, University of Rhode Island


Background. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) is a federally funded program of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The program provides interventions in schools to educate adolescents regarding healthy eating and physical activity in an effort to decrease the obesity epidemic in the United States. ^ Objective. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that exposure to the SNAP-Ed Middle School curriculum would lead to knowledge and behavior change regarding guidelines from My Plate, the Nutrition Facts Label, sugar-sweetened beverages, fats, fast food intake, breakfast and calcium consumption, as well as physical activity. ^ Setting and design. This quasi-experimental study was conducted during health classes at Delsesto Middle School in Providence, RI. The curriculum was taught in the classroom by a SNAP-Ed graduate student. Four 50-minute lessons consisting of a lecture, physical activity, snack, and incentive were taught over the course of the four days. ^ Participants. The participants consisted of sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students enrolled in six different health classes. The experimental classes in this study were matched by grade with non-treatment control classes similar in ethnicity, income and academic achievement. A total of 126 students qualified for the study (55 control and 71 experimental). ^ Analysis. Using the class (n=6) as the unit of analysis, an analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to measure the time by group interaction for each continuous variable from baseline to post-test. In addition, a paired t-test was used to measure within group changes from baseline to post-test. Partial eta-squared was also calculated to estimate the effect size. Significance was set at p<0.05. ^ Results. There were no differences between or within groups for knowledge or behavior scores. However, the partial eta-squared value of 0.4 for knowledge change revealed a large effect size with the experimental group increasing and the control group decreasing knowledge scores. Although not statistically significant, the sixth grade classes demonstrated higher behavior scores compared to seventh and eighth grade classes. ^ Conclusions and implications. This study was the first step in evaluating the SNAP-Ed Middle School Curriculum. Health teachers and nutrition educators can use this evaluation to help improve the curriculum. ^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Nutrition

Recommended Citation

Joanna M Procopio, "An evaluation of the SNAP-Ed middle school curriculum" (2012). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI1516161.