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A Survey of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Households in Nevada: A Needs Assessment
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The purpose of this study was to identify the food security, nutrition, physical activity educational needs of adults enrolled in Nevada’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), in order to better inform the efforts of Nevada’s SNAP Education Program (SNAP-Ed). A descriptive, cross-sectional survey was conducted for this purpose using both telephone and online survey formats. The survey was available in English and in Spanish languages. The survey instrument consisted of 40 questions assessing participants’ perceptions of health and select health behaviors; food shopping patterns; food security; special considerations of this population; perceived nutrition and physical activity barriers; and preferences for nutrition education and physical activity promotion. A stratified random sample design was drawn from all SNAP households in Nevada with an active, open case in September 2018. A total of 1,014 surveys were included in this study. Results indicated that a large proportion (74%) of SNAP households experienced food insecurity including 37.9% who had experienced low food security. In regards to achieving a healthful diet, the cost of healthy foods and drinks; the convenience of unhealthy foods; and the perishability of healthy foods were the barriers most often endorsed by participants. The number of barriers reported was greater among certain sociodemographic groups, including those with less than a high school education, those living in a household of one, and those living in households without children, (P<0.05). In regards to achieving a physically active lifestyle, costs associated with physical activity, fitting exercise and physical activity into the day, and social influence of those around them were the barriers most often endorsed by participants. The number of barriers was greater among those with less than a high school education, (P<0.05). Additionally, it was identified that 31.2% of participants reported that they or someone in the household was on a special diet for health-related reasons, with a large number of the diets relating to diabetes (n=145). Approximately 44% of participants reported that they had a disability that impacted their daily life. A majority reported that their disability made it difficult to shop for foods and drinks (50.7%), and 58.9% reported that the condition prevented them from engaging in physical activity. Participants also indicated their preferences for nutrition education and physical activity education including topics of interest, and preferred formats and locations to receive information. Top formats to receive information were mail, Internet or website, and television. Top locations were a welfare or SNAP office, medical or dental clinics, and grocery stores. Topics of interest included ways to make food last all month, ways to prepare healthy meals quickly, preparing meals on a budget, ways to improve overall fitness, ways to exercise at home without equipment, and how to exercise without hurting yourself. This study gathered valuable information regarding the perceptions of SNAP participants that will be useful to inform future SNAP-Ed programming.