Training Needs of Nutrition Educators Engaged in Policy, Systems, and Environmental Approaches


Hill, T.F.; Stark, C.M.; Sellers, D.E.; Dollahite, J.S.


Objective: Assess training needs of nutrition educators incorporating policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) approaches into their obesity prevention efforts, to identify content for online training. Methods: Conducted a national, online survey of state and local Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education professionals engaged in PSE efforts. Results: Respondents (n = 601) rated the importance of 24 training topics related to planning, implementing, and evaluating PSE approaches. Most (21) topics were rated very important or essential, confirming the need for a comprehensive approach. Paired-sample t tests found significant differences (P <0.001) in some training needs between local and state staff (eg, training in evaluation rated higher for state staff). Training needs did not differ by program, region, or length of employment. The top 5 settings for PSE efforts were schools, farmers’ markets, food banks/pantries, community gardens, and after-school programs. Conclusions and Implications: Results informed the development of an online training for program implementers. Future research will be needed to assess and refine training needs further, which will evolve as nutrition educators gain more experience in PSE approaches. © 2020