Food Talk: Better U

University of Georgia SNAP-Ed

Overview

The Food Talk: Better U (FTBU) curriculum is a direct nutrition education and obesity prevention curriculum taught by paraprofessionals in a classroom setting and focuses on healthy weight management tailored for SNAP-Ed eligible adult Georgians. FTBU includes both nutrition and physical activity (PA) components as weight management and obesity prevention strategies and helps participants increase portion control, decrease intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, make small healthy “shifts” in everyday food choices, and increase PA consistent with the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, MyPlate guidance, and 2018 PA Guidelines for Americans. The curriculum is comprised of a series of four, 90-minute direct education classes that include the following elements: interactive learning activities, interactive sharing among participants, guided PA, cooking demonstrations and recipe tastings, goal setting, and food and/or PA tracking homework.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Reducing Screen Time

Intervention Type: Direct Education

Intervention Reach and Adoption

FTBU targets SNAP-Ed eligible adults in communities. Community sites for this implementation undergo initial site qualification and eligibility determination based on GIS using Census and free- and reduced-price lunch data. In FY2018, 45 sites/partners and 11 settings were eligible and used for FTBU implementation. A majority of FTBU participants (81.3%, 369/454) reported a household income <185% of the federal poverty line, and GIS analysis confirmed that FTBU participants live in areas with a high level of poverty.

Setting: Community (Live)

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

Race/Ethnicity: All

Intervention Components

FTBU includes 6 components:

  1. Interactive learning activity: aim is to convey the main nutrition concepts in a fun, interactive manner.
  2. Interactive sharing among participants: aim is to build an intra-class sense of community and accountability.
  3. Guided PA: aim is to demonstrate easily replicated physical activities that can be done at home with a minimum of equipment thereby increasing total daily minutes of PA.
  4. Cooking demonstration and recipe tasting: aim is to impact the number of times a week participants choose to cook and eat at home thereby improving nutrient intake and potentially reducing caloric intake.
  5. Goal setting: aim is to harness the potential of personal goal setting in encouraging positive behavior change around food tracking, physical activity, and intake of sugar-sweetened beverages.
  6. Food and/or PA tracking homework: aim is to provide tools and structure around moving toward long-term behavior change and meeting goals.

Intervention Materials

Materials associated with the FTBU direct education curriculum include the following: 4 teaching scripts, 4 take-home booklets, 4 evaluation surveys, posters to assist with a food recall activity, sharing session cue cards, sweet enough flip book, food and beverage cards for sweet enough activity, table tents for taste and rate activity, 5 skit scripts for what gets in the weigh activity, sign-in form, graduation certificate, fillable recruitment flyer, and trifold brochure.

Intervention Materials

Materials are not available for other implementation agencies yet.

Evidence Summary

The outcome evaluation for FTBU showed significant improvement in diet, exercise, and food resource management behaviors among participants. The percent of participants “often” or “always” eating more than one kind of fruit each day and one kind of vegetable each day increased by 11.7% (p<.0001) and 13.9% (p<.0001), respectively, from pre- to post-test. The mean number of cups of fruits consumed per day increased significantly by 0.18 cup (p=.0154). The % of participants who reported “never” drinking sugar-sweetened beverages increased significantly by about 6% (p<.05). The % of participants who mostly or always read the nutrition facts labels increased by 10.4% (p<.0001), and similar improvement was seen in the % of participants choosing healthy foods on a budget. The % engaging in PA to make muscles stronger on most days increased by almost 25% (p<.001).

Additional details on FTBU can be found in the following: Stotz, S. A., Sanville, L., Cotwright, C., Reed, R., Habibi, M., Lee, J. S. (2019). Development of a healthful weight management nutrition education curriculum for low-income adults. J Extension (In Press).

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 MT1, MT2, MT3
Environmental Settings
Sectors of Influence
  • ST1n: 50.7% reported improved confidence to choose foods/beverages with less sugar
  • ST2a: 60.8% reported improved confidence to choose healthy foods for family
  • ST3a: 66.9% reported improved confidence to be physically active for 30 minutes on most days of the week
  • MT1c: % meeting guideline for eating fruit significantly increased from 26.5% to 38.3%
  • MT1d: % meeting guideline for eating vegetables significantly increased from 40.4% to 54.2%
  • MT1g: % meeting guideline for drinking water significantly increased from 50.6% to 60.9%
  • MT1h: % meeting guideline for drinking sugar-sweetened beverages significantly increased from 36.6% to 43.0%
  • MT2a: % meeting guideline for choosing healthy foods for my family on a budget significantly increased from 55.7% to 64.7%
  • MT2b: % meeting guideline for comparing labels significantly increased from 32.8% to 43.2%
  • MT3c: % meeting guideline for strength building significantly increased from 32.9% to 56.8%

Evaluation Materials

FTBU evaluation materials include:

  • Formative tools, including focus group and in-depth interview guides
  • Participant surveys with measures adopted from the nationally representative surveys and validated measures recommended by the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework
  • Class observation tool used for process evaluation and focusing on seven key domains: class organization, lessons, recipe demonstration, diet recall data collection, general data collection, class sharing, and physical activity.

Additional Information

Website: The Food eTalk website includes a blog, recipes, videos, food glossary, and SNAP-Ed Resources.

Contact Person:
Jung Sun Lee, PhD, RDN
706-542-6783
leejs@uga.edu