Part of the SNAP-Ed Strategies & Interventions Toolkit.*
Fresh Conversations (FC) is a direct education, newsletter-based intervention for seniors. FC targets behaviors known to reduce chronic disease burden and promote healthy aging. It promotes healthier food and beverage choices across food groups to move closer to Dietary Guidelines for Americans (eat variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, healthy fats—less sodium and added sugars). Participants meet monthly for 30-45 minute interactive sessions led by a trained facilitator. Each participant receives a 4-page newsletter. Facilitators use a companion facilitator guide with behavioral objectives, key nutrition messages, facilitation dialogue, activities and recipe tasting options. Physical activity demos are part of each meeting. Each session is designed to be interactive with a group discussion, goal setting, physical activity break, and recipe tasting. Puzzles and games in newsletter reinforce educational content.
Four manuscripts have been published from FC program. Significant results reported in 2011 pilot study (nutritional risk and dietary frequency) and 2015 impact study (nutritional risk). Both used a validated tool for older adults (Dietary Screening Tool or DST) that was tested with an older demographic, similar to congregate meal participants in Iowa. Nutritional risk score does not fit neatly with MT1 but other data were provided for indicators. The DST will be used again in a repeat impact study planned for 2020. SNAP-Ed programs using FC are encouraged to include DST in their evaluation.
*SNAP-Ed Strategies & Interventions: An Obesity Prevention Toolkit for States is a compilation of interventions. The toolkit was developed by USDA's Food and Nutrition Service, The Association of SNAP-Ed Nutrition Education Administrators (ASNNA), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Center for Training and Research Translation (Center TRT), and the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR), a partnership between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes for Health (NIH), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the USDA. It is designed and updated to help state SNAP-Ed administrative and implementing agencies identify evidence-based obesity prevention programs and policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) strategies and interventions to include in their SNAP-Ed plans.