Interventions targeting diet quality of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants: A scoping review


Verghese, A.; Raber, M.; Sharma, S.


The national Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program (SNAP) has been successful in reducing food insecurity among low-income Americans. However, the program has also been criticized as unhealthy food choices, and rates of diet-related chronic diseases remain high among SNAP beneficiaries. Recently, several multi-component interventions have targeted SNAP beneficiaries, aiming to improve how benefits are utilized to support a healthful diet. The aim of this scoping review is to examine the breadth of published interventions that have targeted SNAP beneficiaries, and their reported impact on diet and nutrition related outcomes. Using key search terms, a literature search of government and peer review databases was conducted. Twelve unique interventions were identified and categorized based on the type of intervention delivered: 1) monetary incentives 2) nutrition education, and 3) combined nutrition education plus monetary incentives. Across all interventions, monetary interventions showed modest improvements in reported fruit and vegetable intake among SNAP beneficiaries. While nutrition education interventions showed improvement in psychosocial correlates of diet, changes in dietary intake were inconsistent. Combination programs demonstrated the strongest improvements in dietary change among beneficiaries. Variability in types of outcomes measured limits comparability of findings across studies, and our findings calls for further evaluation in this area. This scoping review suggests using financial incentives combined with nutrition education may be effective in improving dietary intake among SNAP beneficiaries. Future research should integrate more robust study designs and consider multiple levels of intervention to effectively change beneficiary habits and in turn, reduce diet related disease in this population. © 2018