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P55 Providing Nutrition Education to Refugees: Successful Strategies and Barriers to Success In Current Programs

      Background

      Refugees face many changes in purchasing and preparing nutritious food for their families upon relocation. Nutrition education can be an important part of improving nutrition and health for refugees.

      Objective

      To survey current providers of refugee nutrition education in the United States about current program implementation, successful program strategies, program challenges, and future program needs.

      Study Design, Setting, Participants

      All program directors of Supplemental Nutrition Education Program – Education (SNAP-Ed) and Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) programs in the US were invited to complete an online Qualtrics survey.

      Measurable Outcome/Analysis

      SPSS was used to run descriptive statistics on the quantitative variables; grounded theory was used to explore the qualitative data.

      Results

      Forty-one participants from 36 states responded to the survey. Thirteen directors from 12 states reported implementing no programs targeted at refugees in the past year. Twenty-eight directors from 24 states reported implementing at least 1 program targeted at refugees in the past year. The average number of programs reported by states that had at least 1 program was 4. Directors ranked the efficacy of the programs they implemented from 0-100% effective. The average efficacy of programs was 75.8 (range 20 – 100; SD 17.6). Hands-on, skill-based learning such as gardening, cooking classes, grocery store tours, and tasting experiences emerged as a main theme of successful programs. Language and cultural issues including the need for translation in multiple languages and culturally sensitive curriculum emerged as main themes of challenges to successful programs.

      Conclusions

      Extension programs provide nutrition education to refugees in many states. Future programs aimed at helping refugees to healthfully adapt to their new food environments should provide culturally sensitive opportunities for skill-based learning.
      Funding Utah State University Extension.

      Appendix. Supplementary data