Health & Nutrition
Smart Nutrition Active People-Education (SNAP-Ed) in Arkansas
There is a link between nutrition, physical activity, and the well-being of
individuals and families. The typical Arkansas diet has too much fat and does
not include enough fruits, vegetables, and whole-grains. This diet, in
conjunction with too little physical activity contributes to the development of
serious health problems.
The Smart Nutrition Active People-Education (SNAP-Ed) Program is a partnership between
the University of Arkansas
Cooperative Extension Service (UACES), the Arkansas Department of Health & Human
Services, and the USDA Food and Nutrition Service. The SNAP-Ed program provides nutrition education
to food stamp recipients and other eligible low-income individuals and families.
The goal of SNAP-Ed is to provide educational programs that help food stamp
participants and those eligible for food stamps make healthier food choices and
adopt active lifestyles that are consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for
Americans and USDA Food Guidance System. The program is designed to teach skills
that help participants to:
- Buy and prepare healthful meals and snacks based on the Dietary
Guidelines for Americans and USDA Food Guidance System
- Become more physically active
- Improve safe handling, preparation, and storage of food
- Develop spending and savings plans to make food dollars last
throughout the month
SNAP-Ed is partnering with the Arkansas Department of Health & Human Services,
Arkansas Department of Health WIC clinics, Head Start programs, senior citizen
centers, commodity distribution sites, and public schools where 50% or more of
the students are eligible for free or reduced price lunch. The SNAP-Ed program is
currently delivering nutrition education in 75 counties in the state.
The SNAP-Ed educators live in the community and understand the needs of
families. They deliver nutrition education in a variety of ways including:
- School programs
- Hands-on learning experiences
- Food demonstrations
- Small group discussions
- Educational displays
County Extension agents develop their SNAP-Ed program based on specific needs in
individual counties. The focus of most county SNAP-Ed programs is targeted to
school-age children and their parents. By learning healthy practices early,
children will be more likely to make healthy choices throughout their lives.
Targeting parents helps reinforce what children are learning in school.
Response to the program from students, parents, and teachers has been
positive, prompting statements such as "My kids learned so much and loved the
program” and “Kids aren’t just eating their fries and throwing away the fruit at
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