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LeGros, T.A.; Jones, B.; Jacobs, L.; Orzech, K.M.; Torbert, K.; Martinez, S.H.

BACKGROUND: In 2016, the United States Department of Agriculture issued a final rule to strengthen local wellness policies (LWPs). As school districts pursue compliance, states can provide critical guidance by leveraging support from intermediary programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—Education (SNAP-Ed). After Arizona SNAP-Ed piloted a statewide model for assessing LWPs, we evaluated that model by exploring local SNAP-Ed agency experiences with the pilot. Our case study objectives were to determine the model's feasibility and utility from the perspective of local agencies supporting school districts during LWP review and revision. METHODS: We used open-ended semi-structured interviews with the 13 local SNAP-Ed agencies who engaged in each LWP assessment phase and analyzed data using constant comparative analysis. RESULTS: Participants found the model feasible and useful. Five themes emerged, 3 of which tracked strongly with successful LWP review and revision: local agency staff comprehension, the openness of local agency staff and district/school personnel to the process, and the local agency's engagement of the district/school throughout the process. CONCLUSIONS: Leveraging local agency support can be an effective strategy to improving LWPs, given understanding, buy-in, and staff engagement. Findings can inform agencies seeking to engage intermediaries in LWP assessment and revision. © 2019, American School Health Association