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P31 A Statewide Local Wellness Policy Assessment Finds Marked Improvements Among SNAP-Ed-Supported School Districts

      Background

      The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) encourages nutrition and physical activity in districts and schools where over 50% of students receive free-and-reduced-price lunch. In Arizona, the AZ Health Zone implements SNAP-Ed, which includes support for developing, implementing, and evaluating local wellness policies (LWPs).

      Objective

      To assess changes in written LWPs among SNAP-Ed-participating districts across Arizona.

      Study Design, Settings, Participants

      The AZ Health Zone developed a scoring system using the WellSAT 2.0 tool to measure the quality of written LWPs and encourage use of findings among partner districts. From October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016, local SNAP-Ed agencies in 13 Arizona counties submitted 57 LWPs and received back scores and customized recommendations to share with districts. LWPs from the same districts were scored again between October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018 to assess changes.

      Measurable Outcome/Analysis

      We completed the six-section WellSAT 2.0 to generate scorecards for each LWP. Scorecards included section and total scores for comprehensiveness and strength, from 0 (worst) to 100 (best). We used the paired t-test to compare scores across time, and we explored changes in scores as they related to SNAP-Ed interventions, federal requirements, and state administrative reviews.

      Results

      From 2016 to 2018, total comprehensiveness and strength scores increased significantly (comprehensiveness: M = 12.33, SD = 16.05, P < .0001, 95% CI [8.07,16.59]; strength: M = 13.58, SD = 15.91, P < .0001, 95% CI [9.36, 17.80]). Improvements were also found for comprehensiveness across each section except Nutrition Education, where the pre-score was already high, and for strength across all sections. The most notable increases were in Implementation, Evaluation, and Communication (comprehensiveness: M = 16.59, SD = 20.97, P < .0001, 95% CI [11.03, 22.16]; strength M = 22.33, SD = 26.75, P < .0001, 95% CI [15.24, 29.43]).

      Conclusion

      Written LWPs in Arizona's SNAP-Ed-supported school districts have improved in recent years. SNAP-Ed interventions may have worked synergistically with state administrative reviews and federal LWP guidelines to influence improvements. Further research is needed to understand these interrelationships.
      Funding: SNAP-Ed.

      Appendix. Supplementary data