Maryland Success Stories

logo says "FSNE" pear with a green leaf Multilevel SNAP-Ed Programming in Maryland Schools: Food Supplement Nutrition Education

This story was submitted by the Maryland Food Supplement Nutrition Education (FSNE) Program, a SNAP-Ed Agency.

Maryland SNAP-Ed teaches youth in schools how to eat healthy and be physically active.

Maryland SNAP-Ed is also referred to as the Food Supplement Nutrition Education (FSNE) Program. The program delivers school-based programming to youth, parents/caregivers, and teachers. The program uses:

      • In-person nutrition education lessons for youth
      • Newsletters and flyers for parents
      • Resources for teachers to learn how to be healthy role models and make small changes in the classroom
      • School-wide programs like Smarter Lunchrooms
      • School gardens, which are accessible to all members of the school community

These things together collectively improve the school environment and community environment. They also improve the classrooms, cafeterias, and home environments.

Number of Participants
26,398 participants in FY16.

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Plus, 838,147 contacts through newsletters, texts, blogs, emails, and Web site.

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Target Audience
Youth and their families who are eligible for or receiving SNAP benefits.

Program Evaluation
The program is evaluated with pre-then-post surveys completed by youth, parents, and teachers. FSNE nutrition educations also conduct environmental assessments

Program Success
After the FSNE program…

    • More kids feel confident about preparing fruits or vegetables at home, 78% after vs 71% before.
    • More parents say their child is getting an hour of physical activity per week, 88% after vs 76% before.
    • More teachers see students choosing healthy foods, 70% after vs. 57% before.
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    • More teachers see parents trying to improve nutrition in the classroom, 49% after vs. 35% before.
    • More teachers see parents trying to improve nutrition in the school environment, 57% after vs. 41% before.
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    • More teachers say that eat healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables, in front of their students, 69% after vs. 52% before.
    • More teachers are trying to improve their school to help students be healthier, 42% after vs. 35% before.


    • More teachers report that students are offered healthy foods throughout the day, 82% before vs. 75% after.
    • 88% of schools made at least one change to improve the nutrition or food environment.
    • 77% of schools made at least one change to improve the physical activity environment.
    • 62% of schools with FSNE were recognized for making healthy changes or promoting healthy environments. Local, state, or national awards included Alliance for a Healthier Generation and Let’s Move! Active School

       
       


Text2BHealthy program logo Text2BHealthy

This article was written and submitted to SNAP-Ed Connection by Maryland's Food Supplement Nutrition Education program.

Text2BHealthy is a text message program targeting parents of elementary school students who are currently receiving classroom-based nutrition education. Face-to-face nutrition education is an effective tool in teaching children about fruits and vegetables, but programs often experience difficulty reaching parents. Text2BHealthy provides parents with “nutrition nudges” 2-3 times per week on nutrition-related school and community activities, grocery store specials, and physical activity ideas. Messages are targeted and focus on encouraging families to take action. The program includes an email alternative to text messages and Spanish messages in select schools.

Sample text messages:

        Some WGES students made fajitas during garden lessons this week. Look for the Harvest Fajitas recipe in your child's backpack - a tasty way to get more veggies!

        Zucchini & squash are on sale @ Giant. Chop into small pieces & cook in a frying pan with cooking spray. Add your favorite spice & serve!

Text2BHealthy began in January 2012 with 6 schools and 203 parents participating across Maryland. Pilot program focus group and survey data show that the vast majority of eligible parents had cell phones and unlimited texting plans. Among participants, 94% of parents read all text messages, 98% always or sometimes do something suggested in one of the texts and 84% of parents intended to enroll again the following year. During the 5-month pilot, 91% of participants were retained.

Text2BHealthy expanded in August 2012 to 11 schools. A total of 1283 parents have enrolled in the program with 239 receiving e-mail messages. The retention rate for the program is 89% through the first year.

Questions are periodically texted to participants to evaluate their behavior relevant to specific messages. Average response rate is about 20%. Data collection focuses on fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity, grocery shopping and cooking, as well as cell phone use and preferences.

For more information contact Erin Braunscheidel or Lisa Lachenmayr.