The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program supports State
nutrition education activities which focus on improving the
nutrition of SNAP participants. ERS supports nutrition education
through its research and evaluation studies.
This page provides the following information/resources:
Nutrition education is an increasingly important aspect of the
Nation's efforts to improve diets of low-income Americans. USDA's
Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) provides guidance and funding for
nutrition education through what was formerly known as Food Stamp
Nutrition Education (FSNE), since renamed as SNAP Nutrition
Education, or simply SNAP-Ed. SNAP-Ed activities focus on improving
the likelihood that SNAP participants and eligibles will make
healthy food choices within a limited budget and choose active
lifestyles consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate.
State participation in SNAP-Ed is voluntary and requires a State
resource match as well as an approved budget and implementation
plan. State agency commitment to nutrition education has grown
rapidly in recent years:
- In 1992, the first year of FSNE funding, seven States had
nutrition education plans approved by FNS, with total Federal
funding of $661,076.
- In fiscal year 2007, all States had approved FSNE budgets.
- Approved Federal dollars totaled over $341 million in FY 2009,
covering half of the total amount that States spent on SNAP-Ed in
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ERS complements other Federal organizations that provide
nutrition support by addressing research issues surrounding food
and nutrition assistance programs. ERS activities include reviews
of nutrition education activities, reviews of research and
evaluation priorities, assessments of various outreach techniques,
and studies of relationships between food assistance programs and
other human services provided by the government or private
FNS provides guidance to States for using the most effective
nutrition education tools and strategies available in developing
their State plans. This guidance encourages States to focus on the
following behavioral outcomes when assessing nutrition education
needs, developing SNAP-Ed objectives, and evaluating outcomes:
- Eat fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or
low-fat milk products every day.
- Be physically active every day as part of a healthy
- Balance caloric intake from food and beverages with calories
Reports of SNAP-Ed/FSNE
Evaluation of Food Stamp Program Nutrition
Education--ERS and FNS sponsored a set of papers to support
evaluation of SNAP-Ed/FSNE nutrition education activities.
Published in the Journal of Nutrition Education in
September 2001, the papers identify tools to assess nutrition
education needs of low-income families and evaluate outcomes of
nutrition education programs directed toward this
The Society for Nutrition Education (SNE)-A leader in nutrition
education research, has collaborated with ERS and other Federal
partners to improve evaluation of SNAP-Ed/FSNE activities. Results
of that effort can be seen in a series of three papers published in
the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior in
Developing Common Core Survey Questions to Assess Key Dietary
Behavioral Outcomes of FSNE: Launching the Research
Process-Participants at an April 2004 workshop hosted by ERS chose
potential survey questions from a Prototype Notebook of questions selected from
nutrition education literature to use in assessing SNAP-Ed/FSNE.
Speakers focused on practical applications of evaluation and
validation of dietary behavioral outcomes of SNAP-Ed/FSNE.
Meetings and Conference Proceedings--USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education, and
Extension Service (CSREES) provides links to conference slides,
papers, and other materials of interest to SNAP-Ed administrators,
collaborators, and others involved in nutrition education for
Additional ERS Nutrition Education Research:
Research Tools for SNAP-Ed
ERS and FNS provide a number of web-based utilities that provide
either information or data for use by the research community.
Nutrition education research:
Related Research Tools:
State-County SNAP Participation--An interactive web-based
mapping utility that displays program participation and benefit
levels at the national, State, and county levels.
Fact Sheets--Get State- and national-level statistics on
population, employment, income, and poverty.
- Atlas of Rural and
Small-Town America--Get sociodemographic data through a
FactFinder--Use this Census Bureau source for population,
housing, economic, and geographic data from Census 2000, the 1990
Decennial Census, the 1997 and 2002 Economic Censuses, the American
Community Survey, and the Population Estimates Program.
- American Community Survey--Provides up-to-date
profiles from the Census Bureau on America's communities. Get
timely economic, social, and housing indicators for communities and
Other Nutrition Education
Food and Nutrition Service--Provides current
information on nutrition education in the Supplemental Nutrition
Connection--A resource system for SNAP-Ed nutrition education
providers. Educators nationwide can use this site to find the tools
and information they need to provide quality nutrition education
for low-income audiences.
National Institute of Food and Agriculture--NIFA
(formerly the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension
Service--CSREES)--NIFA facilitates communication among Federal,
State, and local partners and provides programmatic support to
university contractors for nutrition education through the
National Web Site for SNAP-Ed Nutrition
Education--This NIFA site provides State-level information and
contacts on SNAP-Ed activities.
Security Assessment Toolkit--Provides detailed instructions on
conducting food security assessments for community-based nonprofit
organizations and business groups, local government officials,
private citizens, and community planners.