Vermont Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention (SNAP-ED) Program Evaluation

Dates: 2016-2017

State: Vermont

Client(s): Vermont Department of Health

Service: Applied Research & Evaluation

Technical Expertise: Healthy Communities

The Vermont SNAP-Ed: Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Program works to promote healthy food choices and physical activity among low income women and children. With funding from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), the Vermont Department of Health SNAP-ED Program is implementing multi-component nutrition education and obesity prevention strategies within the context of the social-ecological model to support interventions at the individual, family, organizational, community and systems level.

JSI, through the Vermont Department of Health, will provide evaluation services to assess implementation, reach and impact of the Vermont SNAP-ED Program and its strategies. JSI’s evaluation approach is guided by the social-ecological model, the RE-AIM Framework, and the CDC Framework for Program Evaluation. Together, these frameworks recognize the multiple spheres of influence and multi-level approaches to address complex issues such as obesity, and support a participatory process lending to a useful and meaningful evaluation. JSI involves SNAP-Ed Program staff, sub-recipients, and other stakeholders throughout the evaluation planning, implementation, and reporting processes.

In project year 1, JSI is working with program staff, partners, and grantees to develop a multi-year evaluation plan to assess reach and impact on fruit and vegetable consumption among low-income women, children and families. JSI will assess data needs and develop or recommend tools to support data collection for the evaluation. Further, JSI will support grantees in using data collection tools to build capacity for ongoing monitoring. The evaluation will be implemented in the later part of year 1. To assess implementation, adoption and maintenance of grantee strategies, JSI will conduct interviews with program and grantee staff (e.g., leadership, direct service staff) and partners to document processes, facilitators, barriers, and experiences with implementing strategies. Surveys and reporting tools may also be used to monitor and assess environmental, systems, and policy changes at the organizational and community levels. To assess reach and effectiveness JSI will collect participant data and conduct focus groups with participants at grantee sites. JSI will also analyze participation, knowledge, and behavior change at grantee sites.

Annual evaluation reports and recommendations will be developed and disseminated to the Program, partners, grantees and other stakeholders to support program improvement and sustainability, and to promote progress towards Vermont SNAP-ED goals to promote healthy food choices and physical activity among low income women and children.