Through MHP Salud’s Healthy Living initiative, Community Health Workers (CHWs) provide Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) to help participants make improvements in diet and exercise and to promote healthy weight among families.
SNAP-ED is delivered by CHWs who possess the appropriate cultural knowledge and training to provide education on healthy nutrition, demonstrate how individuals can live active lifestyles in their own communities and stress the importance of reduced screen time. Importantly, this information is delivered in English and Spanish. Parents and caregivers of children 8 to 13 years of age who qualify for SNAP benefits receive these services in group sessions offered at multiple locations including schools, churches, parks, community centers, and other popular community locations.
The knowledge that families receive in these sessions helps to improve attitudes around healthy living, and has a lasting impact on changing healthy behaviors. Year after year, participants consistently report an increase in their fruit and vegetable intake after completion of the program. Most recently in 2019, adults who participated in the CHW-led classes increased their fruit intake by 30.6% and vegetable intake by 32.8%. And children increased their fruit intake by 26.4% and vegetable intake by an astounding 65.7%. The benefits do not end with changes in nutrition: families additionally reported an increase in the amount of physical activity they do in their own homes.
Ultimately, participants in our Healthy Living initiative leave feeling empowered to make changes to habits so that they can live healthier lives.