JHSE Volume 8, Number 2 Cover
Rahel Mathews
Mississippi State University
Laura H Downey
Mississippi State University
Patrick Gerard
Clemson University


healthy eating, low income, limited resource, children, SNAP, families, Mississippi, social marketing

How to Cite

Mathews, R., Downey, L. H., & Gerard, P. (2020). Formative Research to Inform the Development of a Healthy Eating Social Marketing Campaign in Mississippi. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 8(2), 51-68. Retrieved from https://www.jhseonline.com/article/view/920


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.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.