A new study from researchers at Purdue University finds that education programs for food insecure people in Indiana can make a lasting impact. All the people in the study are enrolled in the federal supplemental nutrition assistance program also called SNAP.
Assistant Professor of nutrition science at Purdue, Heather Eicher-Miller says the study, recently published in the Journal of Nutrition, used and then evaluated SNAP education lessons.
“Hands on decision making as far as budgeting and purchasing more nutrient rich, economical foods for their food dollar,” Eicher-Miller says.
The study is one of the first to evaluate long-term lessons and 575 low-income Hoosiers participated. Eicher-Miller says the need is great in Indiana.
“Food insecurity tends to go hand in hand with unemployment and poverty,” says Eicher-Miller, “and those have continued to be problems in Indiana.”
The study reports it increased food security by 25 percent over a year.
One person per family received the education. Eicher-Miller says the findings show the lessons could mean lasting change.
“It could mean the difference between a family being able to access enough food and be food secure,” says Eicher-Miller.
The curriculum differs by state but has to adhere to some federal guidelines. Purdue is following up with another study to determine the impact of improved nutrition for people on SNAP.