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Building Capacity of the South Carolina SNAP-Ed Program to Implement Policy, Systems, and Environmental Strategies for Healthy Eating and Active Living in Conjunction with Delivery Direct Nutrition Education

      Objective

      SNAP-Ed Implementing Agencies (IA) have varying levels of capacity to meet federal rules requiring working to change policy, systems, and environments (PSE) for healthy eating and active living in conjunction with delivering nutrition education. This evaluation aimed to identify barriers and opportunities for building capacity of IAs to work with SNAP-Ed partners on PSE strategies.

      Study Design, Setting, Participants, Intervention

      This study took place in South Carolina and included three components of data collection. Pre- and post-interviews with IA staff (n=19; n=19); interviews with current or potential partners of SNAP-Ed (n=84); and SNAP-eligible participant focus groups (n=165). IA interviews explored knowledge of PSE requirements, and barriers and opportunities for capacity building. Partner interviews explored preferred PSE strategies, and barriers and opportunities for implementation. Focus groups explored barriers to healthy foods and preferred PSE strategies.

      Outcome Measures and Analysis

      Interviews and focus groups were analyzed using NVIVO11 software, focused on barriers and opportunities for PSE capacity building within the state's SNAP-Ed program, and preferred PSE strategies among stakeholders.

      Results

      IA staff's knowledge of PSE requirements increased during the year. Numerous barriers (e.g., lack of resources and familiarity of strategies) and opportunities (e.g., current relationships and interest in strategies) for capacity building were identified. Some preferred PSE strategies aligned among stakeholder groups (e.g., farmers markets, gardens).

      Conclusions and Implications

      Opportunities exist to build capacity of SNAP-Ed programs to comply with federal rules through exploring and aligning the readiness and need of IAs, partners, and target populations.

      Funding

      Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Education