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ST1: Healthy Eating

Framework Component

Readiness & Capacity - Goals and Intentions

Indicator Description

Individual intentions and goals that serve as motivators to behavior changes recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Background and Context

Indicator ST1 measures changes in intentions and goals resulting from a one-time lesson or a series of direct nutrition education classes with SNAP-Ed adults and youth. Depending on the setting and time availability, surveys and questions noted below may be conducted in a pre- and post-test design or in a post-test only design, such as used in the University of California (UC) CalFresh Intent to Change surveys. Some of the questions will need to be updated to reflect the latest dietary guidelines. For example, changing servings to cups and adding fruit juice limits for children in certain age groups will be necessary. Using multiple measures of intent and goal setting strengthens the likelihood of determining that participants are motivated to improve their healthy eating practices. At present, there is no standardized survey instrument or composite score used in SNAP-Ed programming because of the variety of curricula and population subgroups served. Evaluators are encouraged to measure the degree of correlation among the individual measures presented in this indicator. Results may be limited due to self-report biases (e.g., recall and social desirability).

Outcome Measures

The number or percentage of participants who set goals or intent to change the following healthy eating behaviors:

Five Food Groups. Intention or goal setting related to eating from the five food groups throughout the day:

Messaging. Intent to change or setting goals for any of the following Dietary Guidelines messages:


What to Measure

SNAP-Ed participants who indicate an intent to change or set behavior change goals related to the benefits from consuming each of the five food groups that compose MyPlate, reduction of unhealthy sugary beverages consumption, and/or changes consistent with the key Dietary Guidelines messages.

Choose at least one outcome measure from the list provided, and select a measurement approach based on the type of survey questions and responses. The example surveys and sample questions listed below can be used to measure post-test only responses of intent or for matched pre- and post-test outcome measurements of intent and goals by age group. The measures reflect the Transtheoretical model An integrative, biopsychosocial model to conceptualize the process of intentional behavior change. (Stages of Change).

For a description on ordinal and nominal outcomes, please see Appendix D.


Adults, adolescents, and children (grades 3-12)

Surveys and Data Collection Tools



Key Glossary Terms

Transtheoretical Model

Additional Resources or Supporting Citations

Campbell MK, Reynolds KD, Havas S, et al. Stages of change for increasing fruit and vegetable consumption among adults and young adults participating in the national 5-a-Day for Better Health community studies. Health Educ Behav 1999; 26: 513-34.

Cullen KW, Bartholomew LK, Parcel GS, Koehly L. Measuring stage of change for fruit and vegetable consumption in 9- to 12-year-old girls. Journal of Behavioral Medicine 1998;21:241-254.

Savoie M, Mispireta M, Rankin L, Neill K, LeBlanc H, Christofferson D. Intention to Change Nutrition-Related Behaviors in Adult Participants of a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education. Journal Of Nutrition Education & Behavior [serial online]. January 2015;47(1):81-85. Available from: Academic Search Alumni Edition, Ipswich, MA. Accessed May 15, 2016.