Maryland’s Food Supplement Nutrition Education (FSNE) offers nutrition education programs to help Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households and those eligible for SNAP. FSNE programs are provided at no cost to support the work of community agencies serving SNAP-eligible individuals and families, such as literacy centers, local food banks, soup kitchens, WIC offices, senior centers, community centers, neighborhood groups, and homeless shelters. Many materials are available in both English and Spanish.
In FY15, FSNE reached more than 22,300 low-income participants and made over 146,000 contacts with those participants over series of nutrition education classes. FSNE educators in 17 counties and Baltimore City spent over 5,350 hours delivering nutrition education to individuals throughout the lifespan – preschool-aged youth (27% of total participants), school-aged youth (52%), adults (19%), and seniors (2%). FSNE educators also trained almost 750 collaborating partners to administer lessons from 15 different nutrition education programs to the target audience. In FY15, trained trainers/collaborating partners alone provided education to almost 1/4 (5,357 individuals) of the total participants reached by FSNE.
How we reached our audience in FY15:
In addition to direct education events, FSNE employs a variety of indirect educational strategies to reach the target audience, whose resource constraints may inhibit attendance at in-person events. In FY15, FSNE provided education to participants through print materials (510,302 items), informational text messages (174,645 messages), and informational email messages (55,066 messages). Diverse multimedia strategies, including the Eat Smart blog (6,705 total hits) and the Eat Smart website (26,264 total website page views) were also used to provide nutrition and physical activity information to the FSNE audience.
Our impacts in FY15:
After participating in FSNE nutrition education programming, individuals report positive changes in their eating habits and other health behaviors. Youth who participate in FSNE programs report higher preferences for healthy foods and a greater consumption of fruits and vegetables after program participation. Elementary-aged youth also demonstrate higher self-efficacy in preparing fruits and vegetables at home, selecting them when dining away from home, and asking someone in their family to purchase their favorite fruits and vegetables. FSNE programming in FY15 also contributed to improvements in physical activity and decreases in sedentary behavior among elementary-aged youth. Adult participants report higher consumption of fruits and vegetables for meals and snacks, and an increase in the daily variety of fruits and vegetables they consume. Adults also indicate improvements in their food resource management skills, which contribute to the selection, purchasing and preparation of healthy foods for themselves and their families. on. Finally, FSNE-led training courses, which encourage collaborating partners to adapt healthy child feeding practices at their sites, also demonstrated positive outcomes by subsequently fostering healthy eating behaviors among the youth in their care.