Nutrition and Dietetics
Nutrition and Food Sciences
Community nutrition; older adults; SNAP-Ed
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SNAP is a federally-funded, free community nutrition program administered through the RI Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—Education (SNAP-Ed), housed in the URI Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences. SNAP targets low-income older adults throughout Rhode Island, educating about 250 individuals each month. A monthly topic of current interest is addressed using an appropriate newsletter, recipe, and interactive component that are delivered at various senior centers and other venues.
As the SNAP undergraduate program assistant since September 2009, I have had the opportunity to create nutrition education materials and to assist in the delivery of community nutrition programming to low-income older adults. Evaluation of program impact is a requisite component of this federal program. For my senior honors project, I compiled SNAP program evaluation data and statistically analyzed its significance using SPSS.
The results of this analysis of months of data indicate that SNAP programs are highly effective, in both the short term (at one month) and in the longer term (3-6 months later) as participants indicate that knowledge and positive nutrition behaviors persist, post-education. The older adults who attend the programs change a variety of lifestyle behaviors which improve overall health and wellness. This evidence illustrates the importance of community nutrition-based programs and their potential and positive significant impact on the health of vulnerable older adults.
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