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Reducing barriers to healthy food access is difficult in rural parts of Arkansas. Community-based education and behavior change programs that employ multiple strategies to affect change across multiple levels of influence have a greater impact than any single strategy alone.
Use of Theory or Research
The Warehouse impacts residents across the socio-ecological model through community-based strategies to address barriers to healthy food access.
McCrory area residents seeking increased access to healthy foods between August and October of 2018.
The Warehouse is a community facility supported by the Woodruff County Extension Service, ARcare, and the City of McCrory, Arkansas. These organizations collaborate to provide a resource for participants to attend meal-planning workshops to increase their food preparation skills, while nutrition education provides the necessary knowledge for understanding the importance of a healthy diet. Health screening services provide participants with knowledge about how diet impacts overall health.
Program evaluation assessed changes in food-related participant behavior, post-utilization of services at The Warehouse. Descriptive data was collected via self-reported survey.
A majority of participants (83%) attended multiple sessions at the Warehouse, with several attending primarily for food distribution (42%) and nutrition education (27%). Few participants (26%) reported that they would have enough food to last through the month without the food distribution services of the Warehouse, and 60% of participants indicated that they have prepared Warehouse recipes at home. Further, 94% of participants indicated that they are eating ‘Somewhat’ (64%) or ‘Definitely’ (30%) healthier than before attending.
The Warehouse, with its multi-layered strategy to provide knowledge and skill-building opportunities to its patrons, has been successful in creating and maintaining a local culture of health. Community-based programming can benefit from the collaboration of several organizations employing multiple strategies to reduce barriers to healthy food access in Arkansas.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education.
© 2019 Published by Elsevier Inc.