Assessing the Impact of SNAP in Maine

Our health analysts assessed the impact of “Pick a Better Snack,” a nutrition education program in Maine.

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Overview

Altarum works with the state of Maine to evaluate and optimize their SNAP-Ed program, the nutrition education component of SNAP, which is the largest hunger safety net program in the United States.

Our Approach

As part of a multiyear assessment, Altarum evaluated Maine SNAP-Ed’s Pick a Better Snack program, a school-based nutrition intervention. We conducted an evaluation of 222 families using pre- and post-surveys to compare changes over time in fruit and vegetable consumption among students receiving the program and parents who received take-home materials.

Altarum also conducted a randomized telephone survey of 600 SNAP-recipients to evaluate Maine SNAP-Ed’s ability to reach low-income audiences with targeted messages promoting healthy eating

Results

Altarum’s evaluation of the Pick a Better Snack program revealed positive dietary changes in both students and parents after the completion of the program, and helped make the case to continue the program. Additionally, we demonstrated that targeted nutrition messages are effective in reaching low-income communities. Our work in Maine has led to similar assessments in other states implementing SNAP-Ed.