Helping Low-income Delawareans Eat Better for Less

April 2, 2014 in Family and Consumer Sciences, Impact Stories

Issue:

The number of individuals and households receiving SNAP benefits continues to rise in Delaware.  For example, in May of 2013, 153,339 individuals representing 72,523 households received food supplement benefits in Delaware.  These numbers represent a substantial increase over January 2012 and May 2011 when 148,854 and 135,131 individuals in 69,730 and 62,310 households were enrolled for these benefits, respectively.   These individuals need help in stretching their resources to get the most nutrition for the dollar.

Response:

Two federally funded programs, the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) provide a minimum of 10 hours of interactive, hands-on education.  The focus of both programs is on participants developing skills to make healthy food choices based on their budget, to use their resources wisely, to handle food safely, and to participate in physical activity each day.  This program empowers individuals and families participating in the program to expand their horizons and to link diet, physical activity, and health together.

Impact:

A total of 450 individuals graduated from FoodSkills, a SNAP-Ed program, in 2013.  Seventy percent of participants improved one or food resource management skills including more often planning meals in advance (42 percent), more often comparing prices when shopping (38 percent), running out of food less often (36 percent), and using a grocery list (40 percent).  Furthermore, 68 percent of participants improved one or more nutrition practices.  Specifically, 36 percent more often thought about healthy food choices when deciding what to eat; 30 percent more often prepared foods without added salt; 45 percent more often used the Nutrition Facts on food labels to make food choices, and 44 percent reported eating breakfast more often.  Consumption of fruits and vegetables increased with 35 and 42 percent consuming more fruits and vegetables, respectively, at the end of the program as compared to the beginning.

EFNEP reached 337 individuals with young children in 2013.  Based on data from 24-hour food recalls taken on individuals upon entering and exiting the program, 59, 57, 56, 56, and 51 percent had a positive change in protein, vegetable, grain, dairy, fruit, and dairy consumption, respectively.  Additionally, 72 percent of participants improved one or more food resource management skills including more often planning meals in advance (48 percent), more often comparing prices when shopping (41 percent), running out of food less often (38 percent), and using a grocery list (44 percent).  Fifty-seven percent showed improvement in one or more food safety practices.