Formative Research to Inform the Development of a Healthy Eating Social Marketing Campaign in Mississippi
Mississippi leads the nation in child obesity, chronic diseases, poverty, and food insecurity. Stemming the long-term consequences of high obesity rates will require a cultural attitude and behavioral shift towards healthy eating. This study explored the perceptions, beliefs, practices, and self-efficacy towards healthy eating among limited resource Mississippi parents to inform a SNAP-Ed social marketing campaign. A statewide telephone survey was conducted with income-eligible or current SNAP recipients who provided or prepared food for children in their household. Likert-type scale questions measured intrapersonal factors, self-efficacy, and practices regarding healthy eating, such as shopping and meal planning. A total of 206 surveys were analyzed. Seventy-nine percent (n=163) of participants were currently receiving SNAP benefits. Healthy eating was perceived as balanced meals and fruits and vegetables. Though 60% agreed that cost was a barrier to eating more fruits and vegetables, 90% of participants had positive attitudes and beliefs towards healthy eating. In summary, Mississippi parents with limited resources were interested in providing healthy balanced meals but faced cost as the major barrier. A social marketing message with this population can be effective in emphasizing affordable healthy meals.
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