While many people know that SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) provides resources for millions of Americans in need of food assistance, they are less familiar with SNAP-Ed. A vital component of the SNAP program, SNAP-Ed teaches vulnerable Americans how to lead healthier lives at home, in school, and at work, thereby increasing the likelihood that they will choose physically active lifestyles and make healthy food choices.
University of Missouri Cooperative Extension plays an important role in providing nutrition education to individuals and families who receive food assistance or who are eligible to receive food assistance. In fact, as a result of SNAP-ED education, daily fruit and vegetable consumption among low-income elementary school children increased by a quarter to a third cup. It also increased in seniors by about a half cup.
Through Cooperative Extension, SNAP-Ed programs in Missouri have:
- Helped families eat at least one meal together
- Helped children to become more physically active
- Taught parents the importance of comparing prices before buying food
- Showed parents the usefulness of using the nutritional facts to make food choices
SNAP-Ed benefits millions of Americans, and under Congress’ proposed 2018 Farm Bill, Cooperative Extension will have the lead role in implementing the SNAP-Ed program nation-wide.
The Cooperative Extension system as a whole is uniquely positioned to ensure impactful outcomes. Because land-grant institutions are deeply embedded in their local communities, Cooperative Extension is already customizing programs based on the unique needs of each community it serves. With more than 3,000 staff members and 23,000 volunteers, they have the infrastructure to reach the greatest number of Americans. In fact, existing programs have a 74% success rate in reaching SNAP-eligible participants.
Additionally, as a component of the land-grant system, Cooperative Extension has the ability to continually improve the SNAP-Ed program with the best data-driven methodologies. This ensures continued impactful outcomes for participants.
What does this mean for communities like yours in Missouri? Continued – even increased – access to programs that have been continuously and rigorously evaluated to ensure that making the healthy choice is the easy choice. It also means healthier families and kids, improved learning in schools, and better work performance.
Click here to learn more about the success of the Univesity of Missouri Cooperative Extension’s SNAP-Ed programs.