In order to understand the program effects and determine its impact, in 2011 we began to explore the program components that contribute to participant change. What are some ways, besides a participant survey, that program impact can be determined? Is our program able to create long term behavior change in those we serve? Can an educational program based on successful nutrition education implementation and programming be helpful in making these long term behavior changes?
The Extension Center for Family Development adapted our evidence-informed program called Go Wild with Fruits and Vegetables to create an Optimal Learning Program for this study. The curriculum integrates content, activities, and take-homes:
- Key health and nutrition content about fruits and vegetables
- Activities designed to increase physical activity and reduce sedentary lifestyles
- Take-home healthy lifestyle activities for participants to complete with their families.
We began with a study of youth participants Fall 2012. We targeted 3rd graders, the lowest grade level that programming normally begins, at twenty-three school sites across Minnesota. Our CNEs implemented the Go Wild program in half the schools in the fall (intervention), and will be delivering the program in the rest this spring (delayed control).
Our community collaborators have been collecting baseline, post test, and follow-up data throughout the year:
- Giving each student a pedometer to wear for a week
- Administering a survey about how they've been eating and moving
- Measuring heights and weights
For more about the SNAP-Ed Impact Study, contact the Applied Research and Evaluation team.