P39 Culturally Adapting Nutrition Education in a Food Pantry Setting


      A large urban food pantry explored ethnic group perceptions of its nutrition education program, and associated changes in participant nutrition and health behaviors.

      Use of Theory or Research

      The theoretical framework for the program is Social Cognitive Theory, which considers the social environment and participant self-efficacy.

      Target Audience

      Low-income English-, Spanish-, and Chinese-speaking participants who frequent the nutrition education program.

      Program Description

      The 6-session program provides hands-on learning activities, including cooking demonstrations. Sessions are translated and presented in multiple languages.

      Evaluation Methods

      A focus group protocol was developed, translated, and implemented with 6 groups (1 English-speaking, 2 Spanish-speaking, and 3 Chinese-speaking) with a total of 56 past nutrition education program participants. Findings were summarized and then compared across ethnic groups. Separately, pre- and post-program data from nutrition education classes (n = 181) implemented in the prior 2 years was analyzed using a repeated measures analysis of variances.


      Focus group participants reported few barriers and agreed on their preference to combine a pantry visit with class attendance. Participants from all ethnic groups preferred to attend nutrition education programming with friends, however only the Chinese speaking groups made a point of coming with their friends. They reported increased consumption in the amount and variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as increased use of food labels prior to purchase. The analysis of the survey data from the prior 2 years confirmed participants had made significant changes (P < .01) in 5 areas: they increased the number of servings of fruit and vegetables, the variety of fruits and vegetables, and how often they read beverage labels to see if it had added sugar.


      Results suggest that a nutrition education program, when adapted for language and culture, can assist different ethnic groups in building their capacity in health literacy and making positive health behavior changes. Results also indicate there is an opportunity to deliver more nutrition education when classes are offered in conjunction with a food pantry visit.
      Funding: USDA NYS SNAP-ED.

      Appendix. Supplementary data