USDA's Food and Nutrition Service encourages social marketing to enhance nutrition education in SNAP-Ed. In 2018, Ohio State University (OSU) Extension implemented Celebrate Your Plate (CYP), a social marketing campaign intended to increase awareness of the importance of eating fruits and vegetables across two quadrants of Ohio comprising 45 counties.
To measure awareness of CYP and assess healthy behaviors of low-income Ohioans in areas with the campaign.
Study Design, Settings, Participants
Low-income Ohioans residing in the two quadrants were randomly selected for a telephone survey. Data were collected at three time points between May and September 2018; post-implementation in one quadrant, and pre- and post-implementation in the other.
Indicators from the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework related to healthy eating and food resource management were measured along with demographic characteristics. Data were weighted to represent SNAP recipients in the quadrants. Comparisons between quadrants, demographics and campaign exposure were made using 95% confidence intervals to determine significant differences.
Post-implementation, 18% of low-income Ohioans were exposed to CYP. Exposure was highest among women (23%), households with children (27%), and participants in food assistance programs (26%). Ohioans exposed to the campaign ate more fruits and vegetables daily than those unexposed, although this was not significant. Among assistance programs participants, campaign exposure was significantly associated with higher readiness to increase vegetable consumption. Reported barriers to eating healthier were cost, health reasons, dislike, and being too busy to shop for, cook or prepare healthy foods. Actions taken after campaign exposure included thinking about making healthier food choices, buying and eating more fruits and vegetables, and planning healthy meals for their family.
OSU Extension successfully launched a multi-modal social marketing campaign in 2018 recognized by nearly one-fifth of low-income Ohioans. CYP was particularly effective in reaching Ohioans participating in assistance programs and may increase their readiness to increase fruit and vegetable consumption.