A legacy of structural discrimination has contributed to increased rates of poverty, food insecurity, and obesity among African American Americans compared to White Americans. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Education (SNAP-Ed) is intended to ameliorate food insecurity and obesity and must consider whether it meets the needs of African Americans at increased risk of those conditions.
To assess whether educational outcomes from participation in the Louisiana State University SNAP-Ed program were equivalent for African American participants compared to White participants.
Study Design, Settings, Participants
Change in eating behaviors following SNAP-Ed participation were evaluated with pre/post surveys. Outcomes measured included change in frequency of consuming fruits, vegetables, whole grain and dairy products, and sugar sweetened beverages after SNAP-Ed participation. Data from 2 prior evaluations were combined and stratified by race (n = 434, 66% African American). Paired t tests for change in dietary behaviors were conducted across race categories using Stata 16.1.
Outcomes did not differ between African American and White participants for most behaviors. However, frequency of fruit juice consumption increased significantly among African Americans (mean increase 0.27 on a Likert scale of 1-5, P = 0.005), but not among White participants (0.12 increase, P = 0.191). Frequency of low-fat milk (0.24, P = 0.053) and whole grain pasta consumption (0.33, P = 0.001) increased among White participants with marginal significance, but not among African American participants (mean increase 0.11, P = 0.247 and 0.16, P = 0.102, respectively).
SNAP-Ed must consider whether it adequately serves African Americans given the historical structural discrimination they have faced. Though most outcomes from LSU SNAP-Ed participation were not significantly different between African American and White participants, the consumption of fruit juice, low fat milk, and whole grain pasta changed differently in African American participants. This study serves as an example for future equity-focused evaluations. Further research should assess what may contribute to racial differences in behavior change outcomes of SNAP-Ed participation.
Funding Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Education.
Appendix. Supplementary data
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