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images of telephonic health coaching: have one of these goals? myplate, vegetables, exercise, activity grocery bag with a dollar sign, and a phone in the center: healthy coach calling; and a yellos Toolkit Strategy banner

Part of the SNAP-Ed Strategies & Interventions Toolkit.*

The Telephonic Health Coaching (THC) Intervention Toolkit is designed to assist SNAP-Ed programs in implementing THC intervention, an innovative and effective method to promote healthy behavior changes among SNAP-Ed participants. Based on best practices derived from six years of experience at the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) SNAP-Ed program, this toolkit provides comprehensive resources for launching a THC intervention. ​

Our THC intervention consists of six consecutive weekly sessions, approximately thirty minutes in length, with pre/post program evaluation at weeks one and six.

The Telephonic Health Coaching Intervention (THC) Toolkit is a direct education intervention designed to:

  • Increase frequency of eating all five food groups
  • Increase frequency of eating a variety of fruits and vegetables
  • Increase whole fruit consumption by at least half a cup per day
  • Increase vegetable consumption by at least half a cup per day
  • Increase frequency of intake of fat-free or low-fat dairy including (dairy/nondairy) and yogurt, and decrease frequency of intake of full fat dairy (milk/yogurt)
  • Increase frequency of whole grains and decrease consumption of refined grains
  • Increase frequency of lean proteins and decrease frequency of high fat proteins
  • Decrease sugar-sweetened beverage intake
  • Increase frequency of low sodium foods
  • Increase minutes of daily physical activity

In order to achieve these goals, the THC intervention provides material to train SNAP-Ed educators to be health coaches that engage with clients by telephone and use behavior change techniques to craft individual goals related to healthy eating and physical activity. The increased intensity, duration and personalization of the THC intervention improve the likelihood that persons eligible for SNAP will make healthy food choices and choose physically active lifestyles consistent with the current USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

University of Saint Joseph SNAP-Ed Program
Funding Source
USDA. University of Saint Joseph (USJ) SNAP-Ed.
Free Material
Cost ($)
SNAP-Ed Toolkit Classification
  • Evaluated
Evaluation Information

The THC Toolkit contains the Health Coaching Evaluation Tool (in the Appendix) which includes the pre/post behavior questions, overall goal/vision and topic codes, goals set and topic codes, confidence level (self-efficacy score) for goals set, and percent goal attainment. Between 2016-2018, there was a statistically significant change in all of the behavior questions that were analyzed (18/19), and in 2019, there was a statistically significant change in 18 of the 25 questions (p< 0.05). All questions showed positive trends, indicating an increase in healthy eating behaviors and a decrease in unhealthy eating behaviors. Additionally, the clients’ most frequently self-selected goals, categorized by topic based on the current USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, were to increase physical activity, increase fruit and vegetable intake, and follow a healthy eating pattern with an appropriate calorie level by using the MyPlate Plan. Furthermore, physical activity increased from 25.4 minutes per day at baseline to 39.4 minutes at the end of the program, a nearly 60% increase. Lastly, behavior change was measured by the client’s self-reported goal attainment (from 0%-100%) for the two goals set at each session and the pre/post behavior questions. For Goal 1, attainment rates increased from 71% in session two to 82% in session six, and for Goal 2, attainment rates increased from 65% in session two to 74% in session six.

Evaluation Framework Indicators
SNAP-Ed Connection Comments

*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.

Review date
Reviewer Initials