Texas Department of Health and Human Services has awarded Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) Cooperative Extension Program (CEP) a nearly $5 million grant over five years to implement the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP Education).
The SNAP Education will focus on addressing obesity, a critical issue across the county. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of states in which at least 35 percent of residents are obese has nearly doubled since 2018. Additionally, one in five children and adolescents in the United States are obese.
The grant will be used to actualize the “Smart Eating Active Living” (SEAL) project. SEAL will work to improve the likelihood that persons eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, will choose healthier food options within a limited budget and commit to physically active lifestyles.
“Childhood obesity is a major health crisis in Texas….The Family & Community Health unit has been working with the underserved and underrepresented in Texas counties through the Cooperative Extension Program since 1972. We have a proven track record of significantly changing the lives of underserved and underrepresented communities. We look forward to bringing our skills and experiences to this new opportunity.”
CEP Family & Community Health Program Leader Jacquelyn White, Ed.D.
The SEAL program will be established in 18 counties across Texas. During the first year, a needs assessment will be conducted within the communities. The assessment will be used to determine the counties’ nutrition, physical activity, and food resource management needs. Additionally, it will identify any barriers to accessing healthy foods at a reasonable cost and participating in physical activities.
“I am excited that PVAMU CEP will be collaborating with the Children’s Nutrition Research Center Baylor College of Medicine to implement SNAP Education…Historically, PVAMU CEP has been known for identifying and addressing the health and wellness needs of limited resource individuals, families, and communities throughout Texas. SEAL will enhance our ability to provide more effective and impactful programming.”Extension Program Specialist Joyce Osborne
SEAL will also identify culturally acceptable strategies for programming. The team will target low-income schools, communities, and organizations to deliver evidence-based curricula. Osborne and her team plan to use direct and indirect education, social marketing, and Policy Systems Environmental changes to drive SEAL’s mission.
Jayne Dave and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service Children’s Nutrition Research Center Associates Deborah Thompson, Ph.D., Mamie White, and Jacquelyn White, Ed.D., will work closely with Osborne while implementing the program.
“The population CEP works with individuals at a significantly higher risk for obesity and related chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. A significant number of them may also be food insecure. Educational interventions alone are likely to be less effective in changing these behaviors. A person’s home and community environments are important aspects to target to help improve availability and accessibility to the needed resources to make and sustain those changes in behavior. SEAL aims to do just thatUSDA Agricultural Research Service Children’s Nutrition Research Center Associate Jayna Dave, Ph.D.
SNAP Education is funded by the USDA and is managed by Texas Health and Human Services Commission.
Source: Prairie View A&M University News Desk