Contracted by the State of Maine—DHHS Office for Family Independence (OFI), Altarum has served as the external evaluator for Maine Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) since 2013.
Assess awareness, perceived value, and barriers to accessing Maine SNAP-Ed direct education classes among Maine SNAP recipients.
Study Design, Settings, Participants
Altarum conducted a cross-sectional telephone survey using a list of adult Maine SNAP recipients provided by the State of Maine–DHHS OFI.
Respondents were asked about awareness, perceived value, and barriers to participation in Maine SNAP-Ed direct education classes. Results were weighted to reflect characteristics of Maine SNAP recipients. Descriptive statistics and 95% confidence intervals were calculated to identify significant differences between groups.
Approximately half of Maine SNAP recipients (49%) were aware of Maine SNAP-Ed. Many SNAP recipients (45%) learned about SNAP-Ed classes through other assistance programs (e.g., WIC). A majority (61%) recognized one or more of Maine SNAP-Ed's direct education classes by name. Only 7% of SNAP recipients had taken a Maine SNAP-Ed direct education class. However, most SNAP recipients (72%) were “somewhat” or “very interested” in learning how to eat healthy. Those who had taken a Maine SNAP-Ed class reported that the program helped them plan healthy meals for themselves and their family (96%), try a new recipe (91%), and think about making healthier food choices (91%). Barriers to participation mentioned by those who had not taken a Maine SNAP-Ed class included: being unaware that nutrition education classes were offered (52%), difficulty with the locations (43%), disbelieving classes would change behaviors (40%), and being too busy (35%). Approximately 4 in 10 who had not participated (41%) were uninterested in taking a nutrition education class.
The majority of Maine SNAP recipients were aware of SNAP-Ed and interested in learning to eat healthy. Maine SNAP-Ed may be able to increase program participation by addressing identified barriers.