P186 SNAP-Ed Study Finds Differences in Nutrition and Physical Activity Behavior of English Versus Spanish Speakers Before Education


      The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) encourages healthy nutrition and physical activity (PA) behaviors for SNAP eligible adults. In Arizona, one way the AZ Health Zone SNAP-Ed program promotes behavior change is through direct education classes. While it might be presumed that SNAP-Ed participants enter classes with similar behaviors, we found that baseline behaviors differed between English and Spanish speaking cohorts.


      To describe differences in nutrition and PA behaviors before education between English and Spanish-speaking SNAP-Ed participants in Arizona.

      Study Design, Settings, Participants

      The AZ Health Zone used two validated surveys to measure baseline nutrition and PA behaviors among184 adults in eight Arizona counties between October 1, 2017—September 30, 2018. Sixty adults completed the surveys in English; 124 completed them in Spanish. Adults were surveyed before direct education classes at sites such as schools, libraries, family shelters, and senior centers.

      Measurable Outcome/Analysis

      Surveys included 16 nutrition questions and 20 PA questions. Depending upon data type, we used t-tests (PA data), Wilcoxon signed-rank tests (nutrition - Likert data) and Chi-square tests (nutrition - binary data) to compare responses between language groups.


      For nutrition behaviors, we found that Spanish speakers drank more milk (P < .05), ate more citrus fruit (P < .05), and took skin off chicken more often (P < .01), while English speakers rated their eating habits more positively (P < .001). Spanish speakers were more food insecure than English speakers (P < .001). For PA behaviors, Spanish speakers reported more moderate (P < .05) and vigorous (P < .01) minutes active, as well as more days active per week (P < .001). English speakers reported more hours sitting (P < .001).


      Significant differences were found between SNAP-eligible English and Spanish speakers in Arizona before participating in direct education. Spanish speakers showed healthier behaviors but greater food insecurity. More evaluation is warranted to see if this finding is replicable, and to explore the underlying reasons for the observed differences.
      Funding: SNAP-Ed.

      Appendix. Supplementary data