Research examining the implementation of online nutrition education programs for low-income populations is lacking. Understanding perceived feasibility and related contextual factors from the perspective of program facilitators is needed to determine best implementation practices.
To understand the perspectives of Cooperative Extension Services (CES) employees regarding perceived feasibility of implementing the University of Georgia Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (UGA SNAP-Ed) online nutrition education program, Food eTalk, in their professional settings to the communities they serve.
Study Design, Setting, Participants
In-depth, individual interviews were conducted with 15 UGA CES employees (100% female, 13.3% African American, 53.3% from urban counties) interested in offering Food eTalk to their low-income clientele. The Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR), an implementation science meta-theory for evaluating interventions, informed the development of semi-structured interview guides. Topics included nutrition education, community collaboration, and the feasibility of implementing Food eTalk through UGA CES.
Multi-coder data analysis included deductive coding of predefined CFIR constructs and the use of inductive methods to capture emerging themes.
At the time of the interviews, most participants were offering online nutrition education programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Contextual factors such as organizational structure and culture, and the types of nutrition education programs UGA CES personnel currently offered to their clients played a role in perceptions of program feasibility. Adequate personnel and time to offer Food eTalk influenced perceptions of program feasibility, as well. Challenges associated with offering Food eTalk included skepticism about the effectiveness of online programs, managing multiple job responsibilities, client SNAP-Ed eligibility for Food eTalk, and concerns about client internet access.
While most UGA CES employees found implementing an online nutrition education program to be a feasible programming opportunity, organizational culture, structure, and target audience influenced educator perceptions of feasibility. The findings from this study will inform and guide statewide Food eTalk implementation efforts in UGA CES.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Education