In response to SARS-CoV-2, Utah's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) pivoted from in-person to virtual nutrition education classes. Virtual nutrition programs have been found to be effective among certain demographics. Additionally, virtual classes may be a preferred mode of SNAP-Ed nutrition education delivery.
The objective of this needs assessment was to compare the level of interest in in-person and virtual nutrition classes, as well as several online platforms among SNAP-Ed eligible Utahns.
Study Design, Settings, Participants
An electronic survey was sent to eligible Utahns through a listserv of current SNAP recipients, a SNAP-Ed e-newsletter, and links posted on SNAP-Ed social media platforms. Survey respondents were asked to report demographics, preferred frequency and duration of classes, and electronic device use and access barriers. Respondents also ranked six preferred modes of delivery including in-person, Facebook Live, YouTube, Zoom, Canvas, and other.
Descriptive statistics were collected and analyzed. Responses to questions about class duration and frequency, virtual platforms, and electronic device use were compared among age groups, ethnicities, gender, and rurality. Respondents ranked six modes of delivery on a scale of 1-6 (1 = most preferred; 6 = least preferred) and mean scores were calculated.
Two-hundred sixty-nine individuals completed the survey. In-person classes were ranked as the most popular mode of delivery (mean = 2.57) followed by Facebook Live (2.77), YouTube (2.84), Zoom (2.97), Canvas (3.89), other (5.73). In-person classes were ranked highest among most subgroups, however virtual classes were most popular among respondents aged 18-24 & older than 35. Respondents most selected weekly (49%), 45-minute classes (33%) as the preferred frequency and duration. Seventy percent reported no barriers to internet access.
The results of this assessment suggest that virtual education may be a valuable tool to reach certain subgroups of SNAP-Ed eligible Utahns. However, given the expressed preference of in-person classes, virtual education should be used as a supplemental approach to traditional group classes.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Education