Presentation Title

The Impact of the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) Among Older Adult Vermonters

Project Collaborators

Chris Meehan (Collaborating Mentor), Emily Cohen (Collaborating Mentor), Linda Berlin (Collaborating Mentor), Alan Howard (Statistician)

Time

9:00 AM

Location

Silver Maple Ballroom - Health Sciences

Abstract

Background: The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), a(n) USDA food and nutrition assistance program, supports low-income, older adults (OA). Participants receive a monthly package containing non-perishable foods designed to supplement nutritional needs. Currently, 2,587 OA are enrolled in Vermont’s CSFP; and, similar to other states, participation rates have been declining.

Aims: The aims of this study were to (1) assess the impact of CSFP on food security among OA Vermonters; (2) collect data on CSFP package usage; (3) determine the main reason for participation; (4) identify perceived barriers to participation; and (5) gather participant feedback for improvement.

Methods: Vermont CSFP participants received a survey in their food packages for three months, which was returned by mail or at a distribution site. Data were entered in Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and descriptive analytics were performed.

Results: Of the 2,400 surveys distributed, 1,544 surveys were returned, for a response rate of 64%. Most participants reported increased food security and consumption of fruits and vegetables, and improved well-being. Nearly all consume more than half of foods; some cannot due to preparation challenges and dietary restrictions. The main reason for participation was “it stretches my food dollars and frees up money for other things.” Common participation barriers included transportation to distribution sites, weather and sickness. Suggested improvements included increasing protein-rich and decreasing high sugar foods; provision of recipes and storage containers.

Conclusion: CSFP improves food insecurity among OA Vermonters. Addressing barriers and adopting participant recommendations will improve CSFP access, utilization, satisfaction and retention.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Amy Nickerson

Status

Graduate

Student College

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Program/Major

Dietetics, Nutrition and Food Sciences

Primary Research Category

Health Sciences

Second College (optional)

Graduate College

Secondary Research Category

Food & Environment Studies

Tertiary Research Category

Social Sciences

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The Impact of the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) Among Older Adult Vermonters

Background: The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), a(n) USDA food and nutrition assistance program, supports low-income, older adults (OA). Participants receive a monthly package containing non-perishable foods designed to supplement nutritional needs. Currently, 2,587 OA are enrolled in Vermont’s CSFP; and, similar to other states, participation rates have been declining.

Aims: The aims of this study were to (1) assess the impact of CSFP on food security among OA Vermonters; (2) collect data on CSFP package usage; (3) determine the main reason for participation; (4) identify perceived barriers to participation; and (5) gather participant feedback for improvement.

Methods: Vermont CSFP participants received a survey in their food packages for three months, which was returned by mail or at a distribution site. Data were entered in Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and descriptive analytics were performed.

Results: Of the 2,400 surveys distributed, 1,544 surveys were returned, for a response rate of 64%. Most participants reported increased food security and consumption of fruits and vegetables, and improved well-being. Nearly all consume more than half of foods; some cannot due to preparation challenges and dietary restrictions. The main reason for participation was “it stretches my food dollars and frees up money for other things.” Common participation barriers included transportation to distribution sites, weather and sickness. Suggested improvements included increasing protein-rich and decreasing high sugar foods; provision of recipes and storage containers.

Conclusion: CSFP improves food insecurity among OA Vermonters. Addressing barriers and adopting participant recommendations will improve CSFP access, utilization, satisfaction and retention.