Food eTalk

University of Georgia

Overview

Food eTalk is direct education intervention designed to increase participant’s daily intake of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products; decrease daily intake of sodium; improve food resource management, food safety practices, and physical activity. The 6 interactive eLearning modules are self-paced and the mobile-nature of many Internet accessing devices (i.e., smartphones) encourages learning at the point-of-decision making, such as engaging in quick Food eTalk video-based lessons in a supermarket or restaurant. Additionally, the asynchronous “anytime, anyplace” lessons aim to mitigate traditional barriers to attending in-person classes, such as issues with transportation, variable work schedules, and child-care limitations. Food eTalk includes 6 interactive lessons, 6 accompanying cooking demonstration videos, and 4 “just in time” education videos with focus on meal preparation, food shopping, and food safety in the home.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating

Intervention Type: Direct Education

Intervention Reach and Adoption

Food eTalk targets pregnant/breastfeeding women, parents, adults, and older adults in a variety of settings. Prior to the development of Food eTalk, UGA SNAP-Ed registered dietitians and researchers conducted a systematic needs assessment at pilot phase using a prototype of Food eTalk. Individual interviews with key stakeholders and focus groups with members of the priority audience (i.e., SNAP-Ed eligible adult Georgians) were interviewed to elicit impressions and feedback on the prototype of Food eTalk. In FY18, 545/655 (83.2%) eLearners were SNAP-Ed eligible based on several criteria including zip code and public assistance participation status. eLearning lessons can be accessed anywhere Internet is available, increasing the availability exponentially beyond traditional classroom-based education to SNAP-Ed eligible adults.

Setting: Community (Live), Faith-based community, Food pantries, Health care, Retail (Shop/Eat), Worksite (Work), Other: SNAP E&T Program, Public Library System, Housing Authorities, and Care Management Organizations (CMOs)

Target Audience: Pregnant/Breastfeeding Women, Parents/Mothers/Fathers, Adults, Older Adults

Race/Ethnicity: All

Intervention Components

Food eTalk includes 6 interactive web-based modules. These modules include participant-paced lessons, cooking demonstration videos, and just-in-time nutrition education videos. Participants can complete the lessons in any order, and each lesson takes ~25 minutes to complete in entirety. Internet access is required, so it may be prudent to offer loaned devices with Internet or share Wifi code with participants should data plan limitations exist. An example would include Wifi at a safety-net clinic or a subsidized housing facility.

Intervention Materials

This online, mobile-device friendly interactive nutrition education program is the first of its kind tailored for the needs of SNAP-Ed eligible individuals. The 6 eLearning modules are augmented by cooking videos and “just in time” videos which focus on point-of-decision making education, such as choosing healthful bread and milk in the supermarket. A short online tutorial as to how to access and navigate Food eTalk is available here at no charge.

Intervention Materials

Materials are available at no cost.

Evidence Summary

Needs assessment and process evaluation findings have been published (see links below). The outcomes evaluation for Food eTalk showed significant improvement in participants’ attitudes related to diet, exercise, and food resource management. Among Food eTalk users, 50% reported improved confidence to practice at least one healthy behavior (e.g., find the amount of sodium or fat on a label, exercise for 30 minutes most days of the week, practice safe food handling techniques, etc.).

Published research:

Evidence-based Approach: Research-tested

Evaluation Indicators

Based on the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework, the following outcome indicators can be used to evaluate intervention progress and success.

Readiness and Capacity – Short Term (ST) Changes – Medium Term (MT) Effectiveness and Maintenance – Long Term (LT) Population Results (R)
Individual ST1, ST2, ST3, ST4 MT2
Environmental Settings
Sectors of Influence
  • ST1a: 95.1% “agree” or “strongly agree” that they plan to eat more fruit
  • ST1b: 89.9% “agree” or “strongly agree” that they plan to eat more vegetables
  • ST1e: After taking the lesson, 42.6% reported improved confidence to choose lower fat dairy
  • ST1m: After taking the lesson, 36.3% reported improved confidence to choose foods/beverages with less sodium
  • ST2b: After taking the lesson, 35.9% reported improved confidence to read a label and find the sodium
  • ST2b: After taking the lesson, 38.7% reported improved confidence to read a label and find the fat
  • ST3a: After taking the lesson, 54.0% reported improved confidence to exercise for 30 minutes most days
  • ST4: After taking the lesson, 32.7% reported improved confidence to practice safe food handling techniques (techniques (clean, separate, cook, chill)
  • MT2b. Percent meeting guideline for comparing labels significantly increased from 43.8% to 61.6%

Evaluation Materials

Evaluation materials include participant online pre-test/post-test surveys and 9 post-module surveys, which include measures adopted from nationally representative surveys and validated measures recommended by the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework. These surveys are embedded within the eLearning lessons and available for use. Data sharing agreements can be established with UGA SNAP-Ed for additional institutions/organizations who wish to use Food eTalk and the data collected by the existing evaluation surveys.

Additional Information

Website: The Food eTalk website (https://www.foodtalk.org/) includes a blog, recipes, videos, food glossary, and SNAP-Ed Resources.

Contact Person:
Jung Sun Lee, PhD, RDN

706-542-6783

leejs@uga.edu