Impacts: Create Better Health Health (SNAP-Ed)

create better health logo create better health

Food insecure individuals are more likely to have poor diet quality. This can lead to an increased risk of obesity and a multitude of chronic diseases, including type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers. Utah State University Extension’s Create Better Health (SNAP-Ed) program (formerly known as Food $ense) is in its 22nd year of improving the knowledge and skills of food insecure Utahns. Improved health and wellness behaviors are associated with improved quality of life, longevity, and reduced health care costs. Through comprehensive programming that addresses the needs of both individuals and communities, Create Better Health (SNAP-Ed) makes the healthy choice become the easy choice. Below are the some of the highlights of our FY2019 programming.


Heidi LeBlanc, Director | Casey Coombs, Assistant Director

The Challenge

1 in 5 Utahns experience food insecurity.

3 in 5 Utah adults are overweight or obese.

1 in 6 Utah youth are overweight or obese.

1 in 5 Utah adults meet physical activity recommendations.

1 in 5 Utah youth meet physical activity recommendations.

choose my plate

The Solution

adult serving kids pasta

Create Better Health provides comprehensive programming that gives people the knowledge and skills to make healthy food and physical activity choices, as well as create communities where the healthy choice is the easy choice. 

  • Create educational experiences that help children develop healthy habits.
  • Teach families how to safely prepare healthy meals on a limited budget.
  • Make healthy choices easier to make by influencing policies, systems, and environments.
  • Engage with multi-sector partners to expand program reach and impact.

Create Better Health (SNAP-Ed) was active in 19 counties during 2019.

Individual Level Impacts

4,669 adults & 11,637 youth received direct nutrition education

social media reach 2,288,250 people

>136,500 people Utah youth meet physical activity recommendations

After adult participants enrolled in Create Better Health (SNAP-Ed) classes,


reported usually/always being physically active for at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week.


reported usually/always stretching food dollars to last the month.


reported usually/always choosing foods based on My Plate recommendations.


reported usually/always consuming at least 2-3 cups of vegetables daily.


reported usually/always consuming at least 2 cups of fruit daily.

After their child participated in Create MyPlate (SNAP-Ed) classes, parents reported


of youth usually/always engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity on most days.


reported usually/always stretching food dollars to last the month.


of youth usually/always wash their hands prior to preparing and eating food.

Success Stories

…there was all of this extra money in my checking account… because my husband has been using the Create Better Health handouts and food he’s found in our pantry or fridge to make dinner every night.
I try to be more conscious of choosing to add more veggies to our meals. I’ve bought more fruits and vegetables and actually used them.
Now I exercise with a group of friends every morning at 6:15, and I also make time to go outside with my baby.
When I make dinner for my family at night I have started thinking about MyPlate and what food groups I am missing. It has been so good for my family.

Community Level Impacts

Create Better Health (SNAP-Ed) works throughout Utah to ensure that healthy food is available, visible and appealing for our target population. Changes to policy, systems and environments (PSEs) have resulted in improved healthy food access in a variety of settings.

Healthy Choice display

Create Better Health developed this thumbs up image because research indicates that nudges, like the Thumbs Up shelf talkers and educators, are effective at encouraging people to make healthier choices in a variety of retail settings. It can now be seen in grocery stores across Utah to help Utahn’s make better food choices.

thumbs up icon

~42,000 Utahns have improved access to healthy food as a result of Create Better Health (SNAP-Ed) PSE work.

SNAP-Ed assisted in helping organizations make:


Policy Changes


System Changes


Environmental Changes

30 locations improved healthy food access, including:


Food Pantries.


Elementary Schools


SNAP-Ed eligible stores

PSE Success Stories

At a follow-up, the school lunchroom worker had made some signage changes and some really awesome changes to the salad bar placement and signs! She tries to make a connection with each kid as they come through the line and encourage good choices she sees them making.

Create Better Health (SNAP-Ed) has worked with 175 organization partnerships to offer programming.