The USDA’s Supplemental Food Assistance Program (SNAP) provides help to nearly 45 million people—about 1 in 7 people in the United States. Nearly half are children younger than 18.
Historically, the focus of SNAP-Education, or SNAP-Ed, was on nutrition education for SNAP recipients, but the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 transformed the program into a nutrition education and obesity prevention grant program explicitly adopting obesity prevention as a major emphasis and embracing comprehensive evidence-based strategies delivered through community-based and public health approaches.
In fiscal year 2016, the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) authorized $408 million to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and the Virgin Islands to provide nutrition education and obesity prevention services, using interventions that include direct education; social marketing; and policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) changes.
To achieve this, states need a set of effective multi-level interventions and approaches to include in their programs. Since October 2012, NCCOR has worked closely with USDA to rapidly develop, refine, and update the SNAP-Ed Toolkit -- a portfolio of existing, evidence-based, and actionable tools consistent with the context and policies of SNAP and incorporating evidence-based obesity strategies. This toolkit was developed by USDA’s FNS, The Association of SNAP Nutrition Education Administrators (ASNNA), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Center for Training and Research Translation (Center TRT), and the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR). The toolkit draws from various sources, including public health literature and collections of existing interventions.
The latest version of the toolkit was published in January 2016 on the USDA SNAP-Ed Connection page. The NCCOR-supported online toolkit offers a robust group of effective interventions designed and updated to help states identify evidence-based and emerging obesity prevention programs and PSE strategies and interventions.
SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework
Complementing this edition of the toolkit is the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework: Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Prevention Indicators. Originally developed and piloted in FNS’s Western Region in 2013, it was updated at the national level under the auspices of NCCOR in 2015. The evaluation framework includes a focused menu of outcome indicators that align with the SNAP‐Ed guiding principles and lend support to documenting changes resulting from multiple approaches in low-income nutrition education and obesity prevention efforts.