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Participants describe nutrition success due to FSNEP

The Issue

Pre- and post-testing for Fresno County Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program's (FSNEP) adult training are conducted with a Food Behavior Checklist (FBC). Data analysis reveals progress in nutrition, food budgeting and food safety practices. However, the question remains: Did participants themselves recognize outcomes from attending classes?

What Has ANR Done?

UC Cooperative Extension in Fresno County developed a Health Champion form to be given to participants at their last class. The purpose was to collect participants' nutrition stories in their own words. Qualitative analysis was used to determine themes. Resulting story themes were compared to FBC quantitative results.

The Payoff

Low-income adults change their food practices

Participants' stories affirm that key food-related behavior changes are occurring. The stories also suggest that the standard checklist does not fully capture some important outcomes. Six major themes emerged from the stories.
  • Eating healthier: 33 percent said they were eating healthier foods or more balanced meals; 37 percent improvement was shown on the healthy food FBC question.
  • Parental responsibilities: 40 percent included children in their success stories: portion sizes, not forcing children to eat, decreasing sugar and fat, eating less junk food, eating breakfast. The FBC does not contain a question regarding children.
  • Plan, shop, and save: 50 percent reported success by planning meals, using the grocery list provided, comparing prices and reading labels. FBC improvements included 51 percent read food labels, 40 percent did not run out of food by the end of the month, 37 percent used grocery lists, and 31 percent compared prices.
  • Eating more fruits and vegetables: 30 percent reported increasing fruit and vegetable consumption while the FBC showed 37 percent increased fruit variety and 40 percent increased vegetable variety.
  • Make a change: Stories included reducing fat (30 percent) by using less oil, baking meats, and changing to low-fat dairy; reducing sugar (22 percent) by consuming fewer sweets and soda; and reducing salt (21 percent). FBC improvements included 42 percent ate low-fat food items, 35 percent did not add salt to food and 32 percent reduced soda consumption.
  • Increased physical activity: 20 percent noted positive changes. The FBC didn't ask about physical activity.


Supporting Unit:

Fresno County and UC FSNEP
Connie Schneider, (559) 456-7142, cschneider@ucdavis.edu