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If information is available, discuss geographic location, race/ethnicity, age, gender, family composition, education, and primary language.
California’s Profile of Food Stamp Program Participants: In 2005, the Food Stamp Program’s monthly caseload averaged 1.97 of California’s 35 million people (DSS, DFA 256 monthly reports). Based on FFY 2002 demographic information, 62 percent—or approximately 1.2 million—of California’s food stamp recipients are under the age of sixteen (California Department of Social Services. Food Stamp Household Characteristics Survey—Federal Fiscal Year 2002). The average child’s age was 8.3 years, and the average age of head of household was 36.6 years. Among the 683,000 Food Stamp households, about 27,000—or 4 percent--were headed by a person over the age of 60, and 80,000—about 12 percent--were headed by a disabled person. The household size averaged 2.7 persons. Fifty percent of households included other persons not receiving Food Stamps, averaging 2.3 additional people. About 50 percent of households received cash assistance in addition to Food Stamps, and just under a third (32 percent) of households also reported working for salary or wages.
The ethnicities of heads of households were Latino (34 percent), Caucasian (30 percent), African American (25 percent) and Other (10 percent), principally Vietnamese and other Asian or Pacific Islanders. The ethnicities of the recipients were 46 percent Latino, 21 percent Caucasian, 19 percent African American, and 13 percent Other. The heads of household were 76 percent women; non-citizens made up 9 percent of all recipients; and refugees made up 2 percent. Although there is no primary language information available specifically for Food Stamp participants, among low-income (<150% FPL) Californians over age 5, over 39% report Spanish and 23% report Asian or Pacific Island language’s as their language spoken at home. (2000 U.S. Census)
Attachment 1.A shows the ethnic breakdown of Food Stamp households for all California counties where the data are available. Attachment 1.B shows the prevalence of poverty, food insecurity and food stamp participation by county.
California’s Profile of FSNE-Eligible Groups: California’s total state/federal FSNE effort includes the approximately 2 million Californians who, in any given month, are receiving Food Stamps and the approximately additional 8.1 million Californians (with gross incomes <185 percent Federal Poverty Level) who are defined by USDA FNS as FSNE-eligible with the waiver but who are not participating in FSP. The groups are diverse and transitional because families struggling out of poverty typically have fluctuating incomes that make them intermittent participants in the Food Stamp Program. For community interventions, this income level harmonizes with eligibility levels of other means-tested programs such as WIC and reduced price school meals. Of the 10.1 million FSNE-eligible Californians, 3.6 million are under age 18, which is 40 percent of all California children (2000 U.S. Census).
Attachment 2 shows the demographic profile of individuals below 130% and 185% FPL including race/ethnicity, age, and family composition. Educational attainment is also provided for adults below 125 % and 185% FPL for all California counties. These data are invaluable when targeting counties with FSNE efforts to reach the diverse Food Stamp eligible population.
Target Audiences: The principal FSNE audiences are low-income families with children who comprise an estimated 81 percent of Food Stamp households. The attached California FSNE map shows where the Network projects and UC FSNEP intervention sites are serving Food Stamp eligible families (Attachment 3).
All 58 California counties receive services through the 11 Regional Nutrition Networks, and 51 counties have services from one or more Local Incentive Awardees, county programs or special projects. FSNE efforts are concentrated in locations demonstrating the most need based on the prevalence of FSP participation/eligibility, low-income census tracts, or school with high numbers of Free and Reduced Price school meals (Attachment 4). The direct service projects target the estimated 1,300 census tracts (of 7,049 in the State) where ≥ 50 percent of the residents have incomes ≤ 185 percent of the federal poverty level (see Attachment 4), other venues serving large numbers of low-income people, and the estimated 5,000 schools (of 9,400+ in the State) where ≥ 50 percent of the students qualify for Free and Reduced Price Meal (FRPM) (CDE, 2005-06 FRPM data file) (Attachment 4 and 5). English and Spanish are the primary languages used, but services are also available in 20 other languages. Since low-income Californians reside in economically dispersed communities, with only 44 percent of Food Stamp participants (FFY04 Medi-Cal Eligibility Data System (MEDS) and 37 percent of the larger FSNE-eligible population (U.S. Census, 2000) living within census tracts that qualify for FSNE, it is critical to find effective ways to target them through media, retail, worksites, faith organizations, and other suitable channels.
California’s FSNE programs at UC-FSNEP and CPNS have developed and used the surveys and data sets listed above to set their objectives, monitor change, and evaluate results for the targeted low-income segments. UC-FSNEP and CPNS both maintain reporting systems that document the type and amount of intervention activity being offered to FSNE populations. By 2003, state surveys begin indicating positive dietary and physical activity changes in mean servings of FV among the lowest income segments. Although positive change was seen in the non-targeted highest level income group, it was not seen in the middle-income non-targeted groups, this suggests that the combined effects of statewide, regional, and local FSNE interventions are changing behavior. These new results are described more fully in Section B of the Introduction, below.
b. Nutrition-Related Behavioral and Lifestyle Characteristics of Food Stamp Eligible Children, Adolescents, and Adults in California. If information is available, discuss implications of dietary and food purchasing habits and where and how food stamp eligibles eat, redeem food stamp benefits, live, learn work and play in your State.
Low-Income Children Need to Improve Their Fruit and Vegetable Consumption: Findings from the representative 2005 CalCHEEPS (N=712) indicated that 9- to 11-year-old children who reside in households receiving Food Stamps averaged 3.2 servings of fruits and vegetables (FV) on a typical school day, with less than one-quarter meeting the recommended 5 a Day goal that was current through 2004. This compares to only 3.0 servings and 13 percent, respectively, among other children in the State. Even fewer children met the new FV recommendations proposed in the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (24 vs. 15 percent; 2003 CalCHEEPS, N=632).
Over the past 5 years, as Network and UC-FSNEP interventions aimed at elementary school children have increased, the surveys have documented significant increases in Campaign recall and FV consumption among children from Food Stamp homes, while FV intake among higher income children in the State has remained the same (1999-2003 CalCHEEPS). At baseline in 1999 (N=814), the differences between the two groups were not statistically significant.
Low-Income Children Need Improved School Environments to Facilitate Healthy Lifestyles: For California, the average daily student participation in the national school lunch program is 2.8 million, of whom 75 percent receive FRPM meals (State of the States 2006). State surveillance showed that most children from homes using Food Stamps ate school lunch 3 or more times in the past week (88 percent), with three-quarters (74 percent) eating school lunch daily (compared with others at 51 and 36 percent, respectively; 2005 CalCHEEPS). School meal program participation demonstrated a consistent, positive relationship to FV consumption across survey years (1999, 2001, and 2003 CalCHEEPS). Higher participation in the school meal programs will help increase FV intake among low-income children.
While many children from Food Stamp homes utilize the school meal program, only about half reported getting nutrition lessons (47 percent) and fewer than two-thirds received lessons on exercise and health at school (64 percent) compared to 57 and 74 percent, respectively, among other children (2005 CalCHEEPS). Attending nutrition lessons showed a significant positive relationship to FV consumption in 1999 and 2001, and exercise lessons demonstrated a similar relationship to minutes of vigorous physical activity in 2001 and 2003 (CalCHEEPS). Access to nutrition, exercise, and health lessons at school will encourage and empower low-income children to make healthy lifestyle choices.
Low-Income Children Need to Eat Less High Calorie, Low Nutrient Foods: About three-quarters of children who reside in households receiving Food Stamps reported consuming fast food at least once in the past week (71 percent), similar to the percent among other children in the State (74 percent; 2005 CalCHEEPS). Additional findings showed that these children ate 4.3 servings of high calorie, low nutrient foods on a typical school day, half a serving more than other children (3.8 servings; 2005 CalCHEEPS). The most common item consumed by children living in Food Stamp homes was sweets (1.8 servings), followed by soda/sweetened beverages (1.4 servings) and high-fat snacks (1.1 servings; 2005 CalCHEEPS).
Low-Income Children Need to Improve Their Physical Activity: For physical activity (PA), the 2005 CalCHEEPS revealed that fewer than two out of five children who reside in households receiving Food Stamps (39 percent) reported meeting the recommendation to get 60 minutes or more of moderate and vigorous daily physical activity compared with 46 percent of other children in the State. Only half of children from Food Stamp homes (53 percent) believed 60 or minutes of daily PA is needed for good health, similar to the findings among others (51 percent). Over the past 5 years, CalCHEEPS documented a statistically significant increase in PA among children from Food Stamp homes (1999-2003).
Low-Income Children Need to Reduce Their Sedentary Activity: On average, children who reside in households receiving Food Stamps reported spending 103 minutes per day watching television or playing video/computer games for fun, over 20 minutes more than the amount of time spent on sedentary activities among other children in the State (80 minutes; 2005 CalCHEEPS). In addition, almost three-quarters of children from Food Stamp homes reported having a television in their bedroom compared to half of others (51 percent; 2005 CalCHEEPS).
Low-Income Children Need to Eliminate Disparities in Healthy Weight: The 2005 rates of at-risk and overweight were 12 percentage points higher for children from Food Stamp homes. While 39 percent of children from higher income families reported heights and weights placing them at risk of overweight or overweight, over half of the children from Food Stamp did so, with 16 percent at risk and 34 percent already overweight (CalCHEEPS).
Low-Income Parents Need Support to Help Their Children Achieve a Healthy Lifestyle:
2005 State surveillance showed that children who reside in households receiving Food Stamps were significantly less likely than other children to feel that:
These children were significantly more likely to feel that:
California Teens Need to Increase Fruit and Vegetable Consumption: The 2002 California Teen Eating, Exercise and Nutrition Survey (CalTEENS) (n=1204) was drawn to be representative of the 2,890,133 (2000 US Census) 12- to 17-year-old teens residing in California. From 2000 to 2002, total consumption of fruits and vegetables among teens decreased from 4.5 to 4.3. (2000 and 2002 CalTEENS) In 2002 fruit and vegetable consumption decreased for Whites from a mean of 4.7 servings in 2000 to 4.0 in 2002, dropping from being the ethnic group eating more than all others to the group eating less, with 4.1 servings for African Americans, 4.5 for Asians/Others and 4.7 for Latinos (2000 and 2002 CalTEENS). Of the 4.3 total servings of fruits and vegetables consumed by California teens, only 1.3 servings were from vegetables or salads, one-third or less than the recommended amount for this age group (2002 CalTEENS). The number of teens meeting the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables (5 servings for girls, 7 for boys) decreased from 35 percent in 2000 to 31 in 2002 with just under half reporting no vegetables or salads in their diet yesterday (48 percent, 2000 and 2002 CalTEENS).
In 2000, ten percent of all Californians below 185% FPL were 12- to 17-year-old adolescents. This includes over one million teens. Eighty-one percent of low-income adolescents were non-white (2000 US Census), demonstrating the disproportionate number of non-white teens who are poor in California. As with many other teen surveys, the 1998-2004 CalTEENS did not ask for family income. However, since minority youth are much more likely to be low-income than Caucasians (≤ 185% FPL: 50 percent of African American and 54 percent of Latino teens vs. 19 percent of White teens; 2000 US Census), we use minority status as a proxy indicator for FSNE eligibility. Reported hunger is also an indicator of FSNE eligibility and is more prevalent among teen minorities. Low-income and minority teens are also more likely to eat school meals.
The use of CalTEENS’ hunger questions and subgroups, such as minority status and school meal participation, provides some insight into the low-income teen population in California. In 2002, 5 percent of Asian and of African American teens reported being hungry in the past year because “there was not enough food in the house,” which is double the percent reported by Whites and Latinos (1 and 3 percent respectively). In 2002, 95 percent of teens who ate school breakfast reported eating no fruits, vegetables, or juice at breakfast the previous day.
Teen Overweight and Obesity Needs to Decrease; Weights Remain High: In 2002, 24 percent of teens were at-risk (BMI ≥ 85th percentile but < 95th percentile) or already overweight (BMI ≥ 95th percentile). (2002 CalTEENS). In 2002, 29 and 30 percent of Latino and African American teens were overweight or at risk or overweight, compared to Whites (20 percent) and Asians (13 percent) (2002 CalTEENS). Overweight and at risk for overweight for Whites increased from 17 percent in 2000 to 20 percent in 2002, more than for any other ethnicity.
Teen Physical Activity Needs to Increase; Rates Appear to Be Dropping Dramatically: In 2002, only 54 percent of teens reported being physically active five or more days a week, a drop of 7 percentage points from 61 percent in 2000 (2000 and 2002 CalTEENS). The percentage of Latino teens active for five or more days dropped from 53 percent in 2000 to 44 percent in 2002 (2000 and 2002 CalTEENS).
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